Love – for each other, the environment, and God – was the theme of the Captiv8 Day held for students in Years 5 and 6 from Catholic schools in Sydney’s southern region.
About 260 primary students heard guest speakers including Father Stephen De Bono and Kenyan refugee Thomas Orungo speak about the importance of love and gratitude during the evangelisation day on July 23. They were lead in ice-breaker and other activities by Year 11 students from schools including St Patrick’s College Sutherland.
“The school asked me if I would be interested in participating in the day, and I was,” said Year 11 student Rhys Timmins. “It was good to work with the Year 6 students in the context of faith because some of the things the group discussed were abstract topics, and it was interesting to hear their views.
“The highlight of the day, for me, would have been meeting all the other people, including the other Year 11 leaders and the Year 6 students who were there. They were friendly and likeable, so it was easy to get to know others and have an engaging conversation.”
Alice Shirley, also in Year 11 at St Patrick’s, said she and her peers helped the younger students to discuss the different ideas and pull out the key messages of the main speaker on the day.
“Father De Bono had some fantastic elements within his address that really helped to enlighten both the student and myself,” she said. “He made reference to three factors that are necessary in a relationship; you, the other and God, and reiterated that relationships are like diamonds – they are resilient and durable and the best ones, the most valuable ones, shine.
“I think that this part of the talk was extremely relevant to the day’s theme and most definitely helped the students to view relationships in a new and positive light. All of us Year 11 leaders had an opportunity to take part in the Stations of the Cross where we read about three of the stations. I loved spending time with the Year 5 and 6 students and seeing the faith that they all held so strongly be able to be openly expressed with other like-minded people around them. By the end of the day they were far more confident and outgoing.”
St Francis de Sales Catholic Primary Woolooware Year 6 students Louie Briggs and Kate Cheun said the enjoyed the day.
“The main commandment we had for the day was ‘Love one another as I have loved you’,” said Louie, 11. “It was very enjoyable. After I did the groups after the recess I understood why they chose that theme for the day. First we heard Thomas Orungo. He explained how his life as an asylum seeker was, also when we went to Gabby she was talking about sacrificial love and showed us a clip from the movie Frozen – when we have sacrificial love we show our love in many different ways but want nothing back in return.”
Kate said she and others who listened to the talk on sacrificial love also made cards for people who had given of their time and selves for others including State Emergency Service workers.
“We also went into our school groups and looked at news pieces about sacrificial love,” she said. “One was about helping people get out of flood areas.”
All Saints Primary, Liverpool Year 6 students Jarvia Jose, Lesly Roy, and Alston Albert enjoyed a workshop that referenced Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change and spoke about the importance of caring for the environment.
“It was really interesting, especially the workshop where we did the planting of the seedlings,” Jarvia said. ” It was about how we should care about nature.”
“I’ve taken my seedling home and I water it every day,” Lesly said. “The message of the day was that we need to love each other as God has loved us and we need to care for the environment.”
The students also decorated the pots they planted their seedlings in and wrote a prayer on them.
“Our prayer was about how God guides us every day,” Alston said.