KCLA strengthening youth leaders in their faith journey
The KCLA program is a partnership with ACTS 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation aimed at strengthening the faith and leadership skills of senior high school aged youth leaders. Photo: Ron Tan.
By Amanda Murthy
The graduation Mass and ceremony for 11 student leaders from the 2019 cohort of the Knights Catholic Leadership Academy (KCLA) took place on Monday 20 January 2020 at St Mary’s Cathedral.
KCLA Chaplain Father Stephen Gorddard celebrated the 6.30pm Mass attended by graduates, KLCA staff, mentors, and family members of the graduates.
At the start of the Eucharistic ceremony, Fr Gorddard reminded those present to “always be grateful for the blessings received from God” and to “continue to be faithful to the calling of Christ” and “bring the Gospel to the ends of the Earth.”
Now in its fourth year, the KCLA program is a partnership with ACTS 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation aimed at strengthening the faith and leadership skills of senior high school aged youth leaders.
Fr Gorddard, who journeyed closely with the graduates over the past year, congratulated the student leaders for their perseverance and accomplishments in his homily.
Father Stephen Gorddard celebrated the Knights Catholic Leadership Academy (KCLA) graduation Mass on 20 January at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.
“This is a special occasion because you have accomplished something that’s not just about becoming a leader or an eloquent speaker, because what’s the point of that if you don’t have a message to talk about? What is the point of being an influencer if you don’t have a direction to take people on?” Fr Gorddard cited.
“What is unique about this academy that you have had the privilege of being a part of, is, not only have you gained skills, but you have gained such incredible insights into your faith, into the traditions of how you encounter our Lord – and to bring that encounter to others, in an organised, energetic way that will inspire and influence others.
“I pray that you take up this calling that we heard in the Gospel this evening, because young people, we need you. Our Church very much needs you,” Fr Gorddard added.
During the graduation ceremony held at the parish centre of St Mary’s Cathedral, Knights Catholic Leadership Academy Project Leader Tristan Kolay spoke about the importance of influencing others, especially in the faith.
“Tonight, you will find that the necessity of being a practising Catholic is more evident than ever, especially with all the challenges we [the Church] are currently facing,” Mr Kolay stated.
“We created this program alongside our talented and experienced mentors to help strengthen our youth, not just as individual influencers of the faith, but to give them skills to raise, support and develop them in their faith achieve greater balance on their youth ministry journey.
KSC WA State Councillors (from left): State Executive Officer Peter Lewis, State Chairman Nigel Hayward, and Deputy State Chairman Tony Borromei attend the KCLA graduation Mass and celebrations on 20 January at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.
“That’s what the academy is all about, sustainably building youth ministry as a collective but also as individuals,” he concluded.
Some of the graduates then delivered personal testimonials on how the programme had affected them, with most of them speaking about the friendships made and valuable lessons learned.
Aaron McAlister, who recently received his Sacrament of Baptism, credited the dedicated staff and mentors for guiding him throughout the programme.
“My mentor Mario helped me learn and deepen my faith, we formed a great bond,” he said.
“I would like to thank all the teachers and students for your friendship and guidance.”
Maddison Gunasekara spoke about some of the lessons she learned from the KCLA programme.
“One of the lessons I learned from the academy is the power of knowing and remembering someone’s name. The moment I realised the importance of this, I have made it a point to introduce my name to others as well as remember other people’s names,” she said.
Knights Catholic Leadership Academy Project Leader Tristan Kolay (second from right) stands with mentors and a graduate at the KCLA graduation Mass and celebrations on 20 January at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.
“Late last year I delivered a speech in my school with passion and humour. I maintained quality eye contact and delivered my vision.
“This gained me much positive feedback from my peers and teachers – and now I am inspired to run for more leadership roles, because I now have the confidence and skills to do so,” Ms Gunasekara added.
In his speech, KCLA mentor and 24:7 Youth Director Mario Borg spoke about how the students can use their skills gained from the program to bring people closer to Christ.
“I’d like to encourage the young people, your family and even friends to step up as Youth Ministers. Think about it, pray and discern the role of youth leadership,” Mr Borg said.
“You are messengers of faith, but even more than that, you are Christ to the world and I know you will inspire so many people to turn to God.
“Stay connected to your parish life. Stay connected with the community there and I pray that with the grace of God, you will lead more people to Jesus Christ,” he concluded.
For more information go to https://www.knightsyouth.com/