Thanks to the support from the Passionists Holy Spirit Province, in March Tim McDade from the Passionist Youth Retreat team in Brisbane spent a weekend in Palmerston North, New Zealand to meet and introduce 6 young keen kiwi adults to the Passionist retreat style and charism.

All of the NZ young adults had previously attended a Passionist youth or young adult retreat in the past. Some of the young people had attended 2-4 retreats while others 7-9 retreats.

Tim was honest with the team, and encouraged that they explore ‘who they are?’, ‘who they are in relationship to others?’ and ‘who they are in relationship with God?’. Exploring these big questions, and sharing with each other helped them as a team in understanding each other, their faith journey, and also build an environment of trust.

These were the questions youth people would be encouraged to explore while on retreat.

I would describe the process as ‘not realizing what it is like to drive until you are behind the wheel.’ I remember teaching our son to drive and asking him to drive to our local church. He replied I would need to tell me which way that was….’are you kidding me? We have been driving there for the last 10 year?.’

So lesson one, you can best teach youth to drive in life when you have learnt to drive yourself!!

The team shared a meal and spent social time together allowing space to get to know each other and Tim on different levels. Being aware of each of the gifts on offer and accepting each other ‘where ever they’re at’ was being practiced.

I remember one of Tim’s sayings was… a team ‘seek progress not perfection’. I had to remind myself of that often as Paul and I supported the team in the few months leading up to the retreat in July.

The ongoing support from Tim and Jo through Skype communication with the team was invaluable too while the NZ team prepared for the retreat.

The Youth retreat content was very well received by those who attended and the NZ team can be very proud of their efforts in presenting, their example shown supporting one another, being open to the possibilities and allowing themselves to be vulnerable in the process.

We were blessed to have Ray Sanchez CP present throughout the youth retreat in support and to celebrate the Mass.

We now look forward and wait in anticipation for the possibilities of the future.

NZ Youth Retreat team photo taken at the 2015 Youth retreat.

Ray Sanchez, Tim Eder, Paul Darbyshire, Pravin Vaz

Penelope Van Der Lee, Emma Dodsworth, Sonia Eder, Linda Darbyshire

Absent: Jessica Herder.