By Lauren Hichaaba
AUL PDMA and Director of the Cagliero Project
Massey, Auckland, New Zealand, 16 September 2019 -- This past weekend youth gathered from St. Paul’s Parish in Massey, Auckland, to celebrate their Kiwi Bosco Youth Retreat. The youth leaders from the parish led their peers in a wonderful program that contemplated what it means to find joy and happiness as a young person in New Zealand.
Fr. Mosese Tui sdb invited Lauren Hichaaba from Australia to speak to the young people about her life, her work and the themes of joy and happiness. The very important topic of youth suicide was discussed at multiple times throughout the course of the weekend. This is a major issue for young people in New Zealand and the Pacific with some of the highest rates of youth suicide in the world.
As the Director of the Cagliero Project, Lauren also explained the important work of the Cagliero Project, the AUL international volunteer program. It is a hope that in the future more and more young people from New Zealand will choose to undertake an experience overseas with the Cagliero Project.
The highlight of the weekend (apart from Fr. Mosese’s incredible dancing which has gone viral!) was a visit from the youth of the Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge. The young people from the refuge have experienced many difficulties in their life yet the testimony that they delivered was powerful – that despite their troubled past it is still possible to live a life full of joy and dedicated to God. It was really inspiring for all who were present. Their testimony, spoken word and powerful singing left all present full of gratitude and an intense feeling of the presence of the divine.
Well done to all who were involved in the organisation and running of this youth retreat – most especially to the parents who, in true Pacific style, kept everyone very well fed for the weekend!!