Year 11 and 12 students sought the archbishop’s thoughts on how to bring faith to suffering, the difference between love and lust, the disappearance of Christians from the Middle East and of religious men and women from Catholic schools. They also advised him on what ways they thought the Church could change to better reach out to and engage today’s youth.
Among the students was Matthew Smith, a Year 12 student from Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College in Burwood who said he never thought he had it in him to be a leader.
Matthew has overcome crippling shyness and now helps younger students to find their own voices through a program called ‘Lift Up’.
The college’s director of Catholic life and mission John Mannah said that Matthew is a trailblazer who displays a maturity beyond his years and is a very effective member of the 10-member student leadership committee.
“He has a sincere desire to live out the Gospel values in the way he deals with everyone,” he said. “It’s evident in the work he does in the liturgical and prayer life of the college. He brings a creativity to the role and makes it his own.”
Matthew and fellow college leader Grace Tahhan were among the 100 senior student leaders from Sydney Catholic Schools invited to share lunch at Cathedral House this month.