Student outreach offers prayer, dinner and peace

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Home > Media > News > Student outreach offers prayer, dinner and peace
Student outreach offers prayer, dinner and peace

A weekly outreach event at the UTAS Sandy Bay campus has been drawing university students to sit at Jesus’ feet, pray together and meet others over a meal.

This year the university chaplaincy in Hobart – a work of the Archdiocese’s Office of Youth Evangelisation – is being run by the Immaculata Community.

Religious and lay missionaries of the Immaculata Community have met with students for rosary breakfasts, individual catch-ups, and by handing out ‘word of hope’ scripture quotes on the street, but the biggest event of each week has been Lighthouse – an evening of adoration, formation and dinner held in the university’s multi-faith centre.

Although the evening has technically begun with a holy hour at 6pm, Eucharistic adoration is held following a 2pm Mass until Lighthouse begins.

“I want to be with Jesus,” is IT Masters student Jiljil George’s reason for attending Lighthouse every week.

Jiljil, who is 38 and has left his family behind in India while he completes his studies, comes for Mass and often stays to help pack up after dinner.

“It’s really nice being here; I can meet new people, and pray with them, and share my prayer requests with them, and pray together. It’s a wonderful time. That’s why I come every week.”

The holy hour is followed by praise and worship, and a talk.
Lay missionary with the Immaculata Community Rachel Camilleri, 24, says the formation has ranged from a talk on the meaning of life to someone’s personal faith journey.

“We’ve had teachings on the cross, we’ve had teachings on the resurrection, we’ve had quite a few people come in and share their testimonies about how they came to know and love Jesus. And recently we’ve been doing lectio divina-style nights.”

Rachel says that adoration has been an ‘essential ingredient’ of the event.

“Through adoration – that’s really where people have an encounter with Jesus,” she said.

“To have this on campus, to have this adoration, it means [the students] have this opportunity to sit still and just be with God and just to love God and let God love them.”

After the talk, the students break into small groups to discuss what was shared and pray for each other.

The night finishes with a free, shared meal for all comers – a big drawcard for many students.

“On a weekly basis we get between 10 and 20 [students]. And actually a lot of them aren’t Christian, so this really is their first encounter with Jesus,” Rachel said.

“I think most of them come for the fellowship at this point, but also from hearing what they’ve shared in the share groups … I think a lot of them are starting to come because they want to know Jesus, or come because they want to hear the scriptures.”

23-year-old Debojyoti Chowdhury is studying a Masters in Pharmaceutical Science and regularly attends Lighthouse with his four housemates. All five are from India, and he says that the weekly event has helped them adjust to a new culture and has brought him a lot of friends.

“People have been really generous with us, and really welcoming,” he said.

“I come along because I found this place to be the most peaceful place after having the struggles of the week,” Debojyoti said.