May 3, 2010. Ballarat, Australia. This past Easter week, 24
girls from all over Australia (Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Ballarat)
gathered for a five-day Challenge Convention from April 8th
-12th. The convention theme was "Get Connected," and was aimed
at helping the girls get a deeper connection with Jesus
as their best friend.
At a camp on the outskirts
of Ballarat, the girls experienced what it is like to
build a closer friendship with God and other Catholic girls
like themselves. Throughout the weekend, they had opportunities to go
to daily Mass, receive the sacrament of confession, and participate
in some formation workshops on the Eucharist, the virtues, and
an interactive workshop on fashion and modesty.
The convention also
offered the girls fun activities like the flying fox, laser
tag, adventures on a giant bungee-jump swing, and a trip
up to Sovereign Hill where they panned for gold at
one of Australia’s original gold mining towns.
One girl commented,
“It was great meeting other Catholic girls who love Jesus
and also know how to have heaps of fun at
the same time.”
Connected by prayer
Throughout the convention, the girls participated
in a campaign aimed at fostering prayer for the priests
of Ballarat. Whenever they made a visit to the Blessed
Sacrament for one of the priests in the diocese or
said a prayer for them, they attached a paperclip to
an ever growing chain. Over the course of the week,
it grew to about 350 paperclips connected together by prayers.
On Divine Mercy Sunday, the last day of the convention,
the paperclip chain was presented to Bishop Peter of the
diocese of Ballarat. All the girls crowded around the Bishop
for a picture while they proudly displayed their hard-earned chain.
In his homily, the Bishop thanked the girls for their
efforts and encouraged them to remember God’s merciful love.
girls commented on how this convention gave them the boost
they needed to continue living out their Catholic faith in
their everyday lives.
As one participant said, “It was here
at this camp during daily Mass that I have come
to find God.”
Learn more about Challenge clubs and activities
at this link.