Thinking Big with the Courage to Dare in the Capital

Lifefest 2012 Wellington with Fr Stan Fortuna and attendeesThe morning following Auckland’s Lifefest, Fr. Stan arrived safely in Wellington to launch into his second Lifefest. He was warmly welcomed by Bishop Viard College’s deputy head boy, Michael Terawasi. Everyone then joined in singing, KaWaiata, in honour of Our Lady.

Fr. Stan has great rapport with young people. Blessed John Paul II said, “Much imagination is needed today if we are to learn about how to speak about the faith.” What an example Fr Stan is; he combines his music, humour, humble down-to-earth living, and lively preaching to inspire faith. Quoting, Pope Benedict XVI’s words, he invited the young people to “think big and have the courage to dare;” encouraging them all to follow Christ in their unique way. Then, quoting Pope Paul VI, he reminded those in attendance who were older of our responsibility to aid youth in their journey of faith, “Youth will not fail the Church if within the Church there are enough older people able to understand it, to love it.”

The day included three vocation stories. Aaron and Maria Boddington were a lot of fun and stressed the importance of making the decision to love every day in marriage: “choose to love and then the emotions will follow, not the other way around.” Fr Matt Crawford S.M., on his journey to the priesthood, and, Sr. Milada, on her call to religious life, were extremely engaging and both beautiful examples of daring faith.

Clare spoke on the work on FLI and challenged the attendees to defend life irrespective of how long it takes to overcome the culture of death.

In between some of the talks the amazing Angela and Diana from the Jesus4Real Camps got everyone moving to music. The combined youth groups of Holy Family parish ended the programme with two rousing songs sung with enthusiasm and great harmony.

The climax of the day was Mass celebrated by Fr Stan. No one wanted the day to end and many have forwarded messages of gratitude for his visit. Repeatedly we are hearing that it was a day of joy, encouragement and that seeds were planted in the hearts of many of those present.

Written by Clare McClean, Wellington

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