The energy was high as more than 400 students from 24 schools across the Diocese of Parramatta attended LIFTED Live Jr at Wests HQ, Rooty Hill on Thursday 19 May.
Organised by Catholic Youth Parramatta (CYP) in collaboration with Catholic Education (CEDP), the annual LIFTED Live Jr event is a dynamic day bringing Years 5 and 6 students together in music and faith.
With the event moved online last year due to COVID, students were thrilled to be back together dancing and singing in the concert environment as they made new friends and listened to personal reflections from teachers and other guest speakers about their experiences of faith and recognising the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.
Special guest Gen Bryant, a Melbourne-based singer-songwriter of contemporary Christian music, had everyone up on their feet from the start of the day until the afternoon, in between sharing stories about her faith and interactions with the Holy Spirit. Drawing on her experience as a performer, Gen shared the challenges of overcoming stage fright to provide a relatable story for students about believing in themselves and the talents given to them by God in finding the strength to tackle their fears.
Year 5 student Ivy from St Michael’s Primary Baulkham Hills said she had gained a lot from the day.
“It was so fun and pretty hyped, which I liked a lot,” Ivy said. “The things I liked best were the songs and how we got to work together with kids from different schools.”
Year 5 students Lilly and Kate from St Thomas Aquinas Primary, Springwood also felt inspired by the opportunity.
“I’ve really learnt about how the Holy Spirit is a part of our lives,” said Kate.
“And how the words from the songs that we’ve been singing brings the Holy Spirit into us,” added Lilly.
Faith in Action teacher Candice Lazaroo from St Michael’s Primary Baulkham Hills encourages participation in these events where students can share their faith. She runs a weekly in-school youth group called ‘Faith on Fire’ for Year 5 students and is also actively involved in the St Michael’s parish as a youth leader.
She said LIFTED Live Jr and other youth-focused events are great opportunities for young people to come together and celebrate the wider faith community they are a part of.
“Youth ministry has been and still is a huge part of my life,” Candice said. “I’m passionate about making real parish and school connections. We want students to have exciting faith experiences at events like LIFTED, where their faith comes alive.”
“I love to share the joy that these experiences bring to our community so the younger generation come to know how much God wants to be part of their lives and that they can be brave and bold, saying yes to God and living their faith on fire,” she said.
The LIFTED Live events continued on Friday 20th May with the LIFTED Live Unleashed session with Year 9 and 10 students during the day and the LIFTED Live for youth and families across the diocese in the evening.