Friday, 13 July 2012 10:56

ACSA Conference comes to Melbourne

Written by  Fiona Basile, Kairos Catholic Journal
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ACSA 2012_FBasile_02

TWO hundred and thirty students and alumni attended the 2012 Australian Catholic Students Association conference held at Queens College in Parkville last weekend.

The students and past students, including numerous priests and religious, came from all over Australia to attend the conference which addressed the theme ‘Defending Human Dignity’.

The conference included talks from leading catholic clergy, academics, theologians and politicians including Professor Tracey Rowland from the John Paul II Institute of Marriage and Family, The Hon Kevin Andrews MP and Dr Matthew Tan from Campion College in Sydney.

The keynote speaker was international theologian and author Fr Aidan Nichols OP, a lecturer at Cambridge University in England and a Magister of Sacred Theology in the Dominican Order, who addressed the conference’s theme. While in Melbourne for the conference, Fr Aidan also launched his latest book Chalice of God: A systematic Theology in Outlineon the Saturday afternoon at Mary Glowrey House in Fitzroy as part of an event hosted by the Caroline Chisholm Library, Anima Education and the Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga.

ACSA 2012_FBasile_11The aim of this year’s ACSA conference was to examine and understand human dignity, and to provide arguments for defending human dignity—it also aimed to teach catholic students how they can respond to such challenges.

The conference's ongoing aim is to cultivate strong faith in young people by connecting them together, by providing rich liturgies and participation in the sacraments, and by inviting thought-provoking, insightful speakers to talk on a variety of topics.

ACSA President Justin Gill said, "I am immensely proud of this year's conference—it is a testament to the hard work of the whole executive and all those who assisted in bringing it to fruition.

“The conference is a great opportunity to bring together Catholic students from around the country to strengthen them in their faith, stimulate their minds and network with other likeminded students.”

"ACSA is important in forming and strengthening young Catholics in their faith to have the courage and ability to articulate a defence of their faith in our increasingly secular society."

There was also time for socialising at the conference—each year Victoria, NSW and Queensland go head to head in a state of origin rugby match on the Saturday afternoon. Historically Queensland has been the most successful team, however this year Victoria took victory honours.

The Mary Mackillop ball on the Saturday evening also provided conference participants an opportunity to celebrate the vital contribution of Catholics in Australian society. The ball’s Mannix Address was given be Christopher Pearson, journalist and columnist for The Australian newspaper.

For more information about the Australian Catholic Student Association, see www.catholicstudents.org.au 

Photos by Fiona Basile, Kairos Catholic Journal

Top photo: Dr Matthew Tan addresses the ACSA conference. He spoke on the topic 'Dignity at the Interface: Humany Dignity and Cyberculture'.
Bottom photo: Fr Aidan Nichols OP at his book launch.