Friendships can often make or break a student’s university experience, but Catholics at the University of Queensland believe having good mates can also deepen a person’s faith. Source: The Catholic Leader.
By Joe Higgins, The Catholic Leader
UQ Newman Society president Georgina Devenish-Meares said friendships were more effective than formal talks in developing faith formation.
“I wouldn’t say we get a lot of formal formations at chaplaincy, but it’s still done a lot of good in terms of fellowship in helping people journey in their faith,” Ms Devenish-Meares said.
Last year saw a promising resurgence in the Newman Society with about 160 people attending the annual Newman Ball, which was the biggest event on the society’s social calendar.
With a lack of leadership in the society, two years ago, Ms Devenish-Meares and other Catholic students took it upon themselves to renew the campus ministry.
“Newman Society was dormant at the time, all the executives just graduated or moved on,” she said.
“We set up an impromptu meeting at the chaplaincy to start up Newman (Society), (and) our first meeting just so happened to be on the feast day of Cardinal (St John Henry) Newman and we didn’t even plan that.”
Carrying forward on their momentum from last year, the Newman Society aims to focus on building friendships as the foundation of growing the group.
“Newman Society is just a bunch of people that want to share in faith, joy and life,” Ms Devenish-Meares said.
“Ultimately (it’s about) having fellowship together and the priority of that is always going to be relationships.”
With 50,000 students at UQ, Ms Devenish-Meares said friendships were crucial in helping young adults navigate through their daily struggles in both faith and life.
“It’s harder for younger people with a personal faith, just because we are living in a way that is counter cultural … you’re choosing to live an intentional life that is different than everybody else,” she said.
“I think relationships are so important because it’s a rare gift to be able to share in life deeply and honestly with true friends.”