Catholic Youth Parramatta

'The Road to Emmaus' Diocesan Youth Camp


Diocesan Camp Group Shot
Diocesan Camp Group Shot

By Gordon D’Mello 

Pablo Picasso once said, ‘youth has no age’. This little phrase is perhaps the perfect sum up of a weekend that combined energy, faith and enthusiasm all at the same time. It didn’t matter how old you were. It didn’t matter where you came from. It didn’t matter if you knew anyone. As by Sunday afternoon at the Galston Gorge Conference Centre, you knew everyone.

Arriving on a chilly winter’s evening on Friday night, there was a feeling in the air. More of anxiousness than anything, as new faces began arriving and as the sun tucked itself to sleep. But with time, the atmosphere calmed.

The wonderful emcees in Michael Dela Cruz and Adriana Lucija started with a comedic sketch (featuring Adrian Falleiro) which conveyed an underlying theme for the camp in how we turn our backs on God so regularly. Carolyn D’Mello from St. Nicholas of Myra, Penrith, then led us into a talk about our own life journey – our own ‘Road to Emmaus’.

Once we broke into our community groups, mingling was inevitable, allowing us to associate with others around the diocese. Group posters were created, as was a ‘code’ that would fascinate the minds of everyone over the weekend.

Musical masterminds, Oasis youth group from Blacktown, began a late night musical fiesta by introducing us to the theme song for the camp via an extremely memorable melody in ‘Sunrise to Sunset’. The first night finished with a bonfire that saw us jigalow into the early hours of the morning. Well more like 11:30pm, when we were told to wrap it up by the centre because the other groups on site were asleep!

Saturday saw an early start for what would turn out to be a super day and night. Beginning with Nicole Falleiro and yours truly from Penrith Parish, the themes of being ‘Blind to the Presence’ and ‘The Invitation’ were looked at and discussed. It provided a time for us to think about the times where we, personally, had turned our back on God and how we could invite Him and others into our lives. This was followed by a talk from the well known Daniel Ang, on Scripture and ways in which we could be ‘Called to Listen’. Finishing up the afternoon session, Adrian Falleiro and I then provided each group with a random Bible verse, but more on that later.

Fr. Suresh led a special Reconciliation and Holy Mass before dinner which allowed all of us to take a moment to ourselves and reflect on God.

Then all the community groups moved to the gym where they would perform their Bible verse using a certain theme. These categories ranged from a soap opera to a British comedy to a Shakespearean play. But ultimately, it was the boys and girls from Galilee whom after thrilling the audience with a Bollywood dance to the story of Moses and the Red Sea, then beat the Ephesians in an epic dance off to claim the bragging rights. Saturday was rounded off with an inspirational praise and worship session with Oasis, allowing everyone to express their want and need for God through music. The night was full of fun as we departed for our cabins, and UFC-wrestling hubs in some cases, but much better left unsaid on that one.

Awaking to the sound of kookaburras and a particularly frustrating whistle device on our second morning, we packed our bags with clothes and memories before leaving our cabins for the final time.

Sunday began with Fr. Warren Edwards speaking to us about the Eucharist and appreciating the meaning of such a divine sacrament. After all Mass isn’t boring, is it? Fr. Suresh then joined Fr. Warren as Mass was celebrated. The entire group then amassed for one final time during the commissioning ceremony. It was the perfect time to reflect on the days that had been and the many more that are to come.

To say that this weekend was inspiring might have been the slightest of understatements as it was clearly evident on Sunday afternoon that everyone took a lot out of their stay. After all, let’s be honest, the code was solved, the UFC-ers wrestled, the California girls were unforgettable and everyone praised from sunrise to sunset. Would you do it again? Aw yeah. Say what? Alright!

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