Priest In Residence Program
To start the term we were able to greet staff and students with a fresh, new face. The charismatic Reverend Doctor Elio Capra has been our priest in residence for the week.
Father Elio is a lecturer at Catholic Theological College and a member of the Department of Systematic Theology and the Department of Pastoral and General Studies. He lectures in Liturgy and Sacramental Theology. He is a priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB).
We asked Head of Mission, Jillian Landers to outline the aims of the Priest in Residence Program.
What are the aims of the Priest in Residence program?
The aims of the priest in residence program are:
- Provide retreat and or reflection opportunity for parents on parenting in a ‘secular world’ with links to the Gospel and College values.
- Host a Staff Professional Development day unpacking the College value “Hospitality”.
- Provide ongoing accreditation opportunities for staff.
- Deliver talks to students in RE classes with links to the curriculum.
- Celebrate the Friday Mass with students and staff.
- Afford opportunities for students and staff to meet and engage with a member of the clergy.
- Offer opportunities for staff and students to discuss contemporary issues of the ‘Church’.
- Provide a visible presence of a member of the clergy on staff for a week.
- Provide evangelisation opportunities for staff, students and parents.
Why did you choose Reverend Doctor Elio?
I chose Elio because I have heard him present in various forums and on a variety of topics over the years. He has always inspired me to be the best version of myself and I wanted to share my experience with others. Additionally, Elio is a Salesian priest who has taught in secondary schools for more than 30 years. I know how well he connects with both teenagers and adults. Father Elio Capra has been described as a modern, straight-talking theologian. He is highly sought after as a speaker throughout Australia and brings to his talks a wonderful blend of theology, spirituality and pastoral care.
We also had the opportunity to ask Father Elio a few questions:
What is your impression of young people today and the challenges they face?
They are immensely positive. These are young women who are socially well- skilled, very intelligent, prepared to learn from others and gather all they can.
Those who shared with me showed a deep understanding that everything is not only about achieving academically but also about what they can give back in life. They have a contribution to make to the world.
They are confronted with many choices and mixed messages about what is right and just. Discerning what God really wants them to do with their lives is the challenge for many.
How do we make the Church more relevant to young people?
We must help them to realise that God is already with them and that they already have something sacred in their lives. We should not always be telling them what is wrong with their spirituality. Instead, we must meet young people where they are, constantly telling them about the goodness, the sacred, that already exists in them. Step by step, we must help them to become more like Christ, like the people they were created to be.
What were your main messages to the girls this week?
The sacred is within you. You are already doing good things that God wants you to do, but there is more we can do. God is asking them to do good for each other. They already showed me that they are doing wonderful things such as the respect and reverence they show for their teachers and their visitors. Sometimes we tell them that they are not spiritually good. They are, their lives are already sacred. They live out the Gospel values in their interactions with each other, but they can always improve.
What would you like to say to the parents of our girls?
You cannot expect your girls to be like you during their teenage years. They are still discovering their self- identity; they need to find their own vocation in life. We must thus create a space where our children can develop into the person they were created to be. Let them grow. They are searching for their own identity. That is what God wants of them. Let them be.
We want our children to be like us, this can be stifling. Our task is to help them to find that path that will give them the fullness of life. During the teenage years, they are cutting the psychological cord. Be patient with your children, they are not always rebelling, but only trying to find who they are. They are just searching for themselves.