Hearts Aflame is a ten day Catholic summer school that is open to young adults aged 18 to 35 and it has been happening every year in New Zealand since 1992. This year two Little Sisters joined the 115 young participants, 12 priests, 8 religious and numerous lay team leaders for the last 6 of 10 days, from the 7th to the 12th of January.
Each day was punctuated by the prayerful singing of the liturgy of the hours, Mass, periods of adoration and organized events. These included the choice of lectures that were presented by priests, religious and lay persons on a variety of topics such as sin and suffering, missionary discipleship, the fathers of the church, community, discernment of spirits, theology of the body, etc.
Other events were the celebration of the Divine Mercy Chapelet, Praise and Worship sessions centered on the Holy Spirit, a healing session with a personal blessing from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for each one and interesting chat forums that were organized for the men and women separately. Confessions were available throughout the week at all the major events
Wednesday was dedicated to vocations and one Little Sister joined the afternoon vocations panel to describe a day in the life of a Little Sisters of the Poor. She also joined the other panelists in answering the questions that the young people had about discernment.
Workshops were also offered on leading Praise and Worship and Lectio Divina. One of the Little Sisters was invited to lead the latter session. The Little Sisters were also asked to guide the praying of the Stations of the Cross on Friday afternoon.
In between the organized events, there was ample time to encounter the participants at mealtime and during the free time. The Little Sisters were delighted to discover a generation of generous, serious and thoughtful young people eager to engage in meaningful conversations to discover more about their faith and the process of discernment.
This Spirit-filled event gave our Little Sisters the opportunity to renew old contacts and to make new friends. Those from the Auckland area were invited to visit the home. We are convinced that the hunger of the young for God and to be of service in His Kingdom can find fulfillment for many through the contact with our communities and the aged we serve. May the Lord show us the best path to follow so as to make this a hopeful and continual reality.