World Youth Day pilgrims blessed and commissioned by His Grace Archbishop Mark Coleridge


​​​Brisbane Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Brisbane, and St Vincent De Paul Society Queensland pilgrims commissioned by His Grace Archbishop Mark Coleridge. Photo taken by Alan Edgecomb / The Catholic Leader.

SIXTEEN young Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) pilgrims were blessed and commissioned by His Grace Archbishop Mark Coleridge on Saturday, 15 July ahead of their World Youth Day (WYD) trip to Lisbon, Portugal.  ​

The staff group, including teachers, Campus Ministers, and a member of BCE’s office staff, were welcomed to the front of a Cathedral of St. Stephen Mass service and offered a personal message by His Grace Archbishop Mark Coleridge.  

His Grace called their presence at World Youth Day 2023 a “calling by God, to witness Jesus in the world and in each other.” 


He reminded the pilgrims that WYD is not for recreation and asked them to make the most of their spiritual journey to Pope Francis by “going with a desire to celebrate your faith with the young people of the world.” 


Joining the pilgrims from BCE and receiving a blessing and commissioning on the day is Head of Catholic Identity Sharon O'Keeffe, Strategy and Performance Executive Karen Harrison, Father Jack Ho, and World Youth Day leaders Stephanie Unger and Enrique Ramirez Chavez. 


St Matthew’s School Cornubia teacher and pilgrim Louisa Gough reflected on the significance and honour of the blessing from His Grace.  


“The blessing serves as a guiding light as we embark on this sacred path,” she said.  


“It will also act as a source of strength during moments of difficulty and reflection.” 


Louisa said she looks forward to experiencing the rich cultural diversity of a shared faith, attending festivals and cultural events, and the resulting spiritual growth. 


I’m privileged to be going to experience the array of enriching and meaningful encounters,” she said. 

“For me, the pinnacle of the trip will be listening to the Pope and other religious leaders share their wisdom, guidance and insight for the future of the world around us.” 

Pilgrimage leader Enrique Ramirez Chavez said he holds a deep admiration for the incredible idealism, unwavering commitment to service and optimistic outlook” that the pilgrims possessed.  


“We are impressed by their embodiment of Christian values such as love, joy, peace, kindness, and compassion,” he said.  


“I firmly believe that our group of pilgrims represent the future of the church and are a source of limitless talent and gifts.  


“Pope Francis himself has called for the Church to embrace the youthful energy and enthusiasm of this rising generation, and we are honoured to be part of that mission.” 


Joining the blessing and commissioning service on 15 July were pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Brisbane and from St Vincent De Paul Society Queensland.  


BCE pilgrims attending World Youth Day 2023 are: 

Teacher Cameron Martyn - Holy Spirit College Fitzgibbon 
Teacher Bridie Dwyer - St Joachim's School Holland Park 
Pastoral Leader Jared Press – Trinity College Beenleigh 
Teacher Libby Graham – St Joseph’s School Gayndah 
Campus Minister Elisha Hiscock – St Thomas More College Sunnybank 
Teacher Sarah Smith – St Francis College Crestmead 
Teacher Liam McParland – Clairvaux MacKillop College Upper Mt Gravatt 
Teacher Louisa Gough – St Matthew’s School Cornubia  
Teacher Renae Coutts - St Kieran's School Brighton 
Pastoral Leader Conor Nesbitt – St Columban’s College Caboolture 
Catholic Identity - Youth Leader Josiah Wilson – BCE office 
Catholic Identity - Youth Leader Charlotte Pitot – BCE office 
Communications and Media Advisor Caroline Kovac – BCE office 
Teacher Monique Sayers – St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Bracken Ridge 

Teacher Katelyn Podger – Our Lady of the Angels’ School Wavell Heights 

Teacher Genevieve Easton – All Saints Primary School Albany Creek 
Brisbane Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Brisbane, and St Vincent De Paul Society Queensland pilgrims commissioned by His Grace Archbishop Mark Coleridge. 

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