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Where Do You Live?

Do you know what the most popular tourist destination in the world is? It’s a city with an iconic landmark, a torrid political history and a diverse, multi-cultural population.

The answer is Paris, the city of lights and love. Due to my previous vocation as an international tour manager, I’ve visited Paris more times than I can remember but as much as I loved it, Brisbane has always held just as much marvel, excitement and fondness for me. Brisbane’s attributes were reinforced to me last week during the Year 10 Street Retreat experience.

I was privileged to lead a group of Year 10 students on a week-long exploration and discovery of our city. The program was designed to challenge and inspire our young men giving them opportunities to meet with a range of people and to contribute to our society. Following conversations on the poorest and most marginalised of our citizens, we set about reaching out and being present to those in need.

Getting around the city on bikes.

We immersed ourselves in activities engaging with the elderly, disabled, refugees, incarcerated and homeless. We rode bicycles through Southbank and scaled the Story Bridge. We cooked, we cleaned, we listened, we served. We met with politicians, law enforcement agents, clergy, humanitarians and anti-terrorist forces. It was a remarkable experience.

In one particular workshop we were all challenged by a gentleman named Dave Andrews. Dave has spent his life being an ambassador for the voiceless – drug addicts, AIDS victims, asylum seekers. Dave provoked the boys by asking, “So what if you go to a Catholic School. It’s easy to sit in a Church and pray. Things get a little more challenging, a little more dangerous, when you have to live your faith out on the streets. Are you brave enough to act when things hit the fan?” This got me thinking. I reflected on our College motto: Signum Fidei – Sign of Faith. We can all talk a good game when necessary but as the old adage goes, ‘Actions speak louder than words.’

Sharing a multicultural meal.

What difference are you making through your life? Who are those in our world that need us the most? Why are your priorities so important to you? Do you know the ‘Full Story’ of the place where you live? I am proud to say that a number of our Year 10 student leaders now know the answers to these big questions.

Mr Matt Warr, Assistant Dean of Formation
warrm@atc.qld.edu.au.