09 Nov 2021
The Southern Cross | November 5 2021
Want to rejuvenate or celebrate your faith with others during the coming Advent season? Then Alyse de Souza has the perfect suggestion, ‘go take a hike’!
As part of the offerings of the Catholic Collective Youth group founded in 2019, Catholics over the age of 18 are being encouraged to dust off their walking shoes and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Adelaide Hills while nurturing their faith.
To be held on four consecutive Saturday mornings beginning November 27, the hikes will feature prayer and a guest speaker who will address one of the Advent themes of hope, peace, joy and love.
The hikes, which are also held during the season of Lent, are just one of the many activities organised by the firecracker Catholic, whose strong faith inspires her to do more.
Besides being a member of the choir and a talented musician who plays in a youth band during Mass at The Annunciation Church, the 24 year old is also on the Hectorville Parish Council and is involved in a range of youth activities throughout the Archdiocese. She was delighted – although secretly a bit nervous – to be a participant in the historic Diocesan Assembly held in September.
“I went to the Assembly with the intention on finding my speakers (for the hikes),” she joked during a relaxed interview with The Southern Cross.
“I didn’t know what to expect… but it was very good.
“One thing they did was go around the table so we all got a chance to say our experience of the particular topic, so that was really good. I’ve had discussions before where it just ends up blaming and blaming, and I didn’t like that. But the assembly wasn’t like that at all.
“At the Diocesan Assembly I spoke of how I have had some really good experiences when we have intergenerational support. Someone in our group, who was much older, said that the question people keep asking is, ‘where are the young people?’ when the question really is, ‘where are we in the young people’s lives?’
“It was such a valid point and I’m so glad she said that because it has stuck with me.”
Alyse said the sharing of knowledge and experiences between generations at the Assembly led her to change the format of the Advent hikes so they are now open to everyone and not limited to just young people.
“I told this to the Parish Council (at Hectorville) and said ‘keep your knees good!’ Hopefully they weren’t offended,” she laughed.
“Everything is done and organised. We don’t need the older people to do anything, just be there. That kind of vibe older people bring to a youth setting is just so good.
“When you have discussions with people you want to be comfortable to share what you are struggling with in the faith. When you have someone who is older, they have probably been there already and it’s just nice to have their input and experience.”