Dr. Dan White, the Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools, invited students from across the Archdiocese to engage in three youth forums, held in each of the Sydney Catholic Schools regions in the first weeks of September. These were afternoons of discussion and discernment as they explored the powerful challenge of Pope Francis in his calling of an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Dr. White gave personal insights into the meaning of Mercy in his life, as well as thoughts on how Mercy can be applied within the life of school and parish communities.
In planning the forums, priority is also given to offering extended time for students to engage with other students from across Catholic Schools of their region. Dr. White placed great emphasis on what was most important to students, as they considered the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.
A special feature for 2016 was that Dr White invited students to text him questions and comments about the year of Mercy during the afternoon and he responded to a selection of these comments at the end of the forum. Dr White commented on the depth of the students comments and questions and pledged that he would also share these with the Archbishop in future correspondence.
Many students commented on how much they enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the forum and their appreciation for the wisdom of Dr White, and his commitment to their opinions and reflections.
Dr. White will be emailing all Principals to invite them to meet with these students to discuss how they could carry back to the school community some of the insights and inspiration from the forums.