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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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Encounter History

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In 2000, while a student at St. Mary's Seminary, Mulgrave, VIC, Fr Christian was asked to work with the youth of St. John Vianney's Parish, Springvale North.   He established a youth group which became known as 'Youth Coming Together'.   At the end of the year, Fr Christian took a group of 12 young people from the parish away on a three day camp to Dromana, VIC. 

In 2001, Fr Christian was ordained and sent to work at Mary Immaculate Parish in Eaglevale, NSW.   There, he established a youth group known as 'Youth Coming Together' similar to the first group he set up at St. John Vianney's Parish, Springvale North, VIC.   Together with Loretta Brinkman from NSW and Daniel Kelly from Victoria, Fr Christian took on the challenge of running an end of year camp for the two 'Youth Coming Together' groups.   The Victorians made a great leap of faith, courage and financial committment to attend the camp in NSW.   This first camp at Gerroa hosted 26 young people in total from the two parishes.

With the huge success of this camp, the event became an annual occurance with camps held every year since (except 2005).

The ‘Youth Coming Together Camp’ in 2002 increased to 40 young attendees, with a further two Oblate parishes joining the experience- Immaculate Conception in Sunshine, Vic, and St David’s in Tea Tree Gully, SA.

In 2003, the difficult and risky decision to change the camp’s location to the mountainous area of Fitzroy Falls, NSW, proved to be the right one.  With 70 young people and 4 Oblates attending, the advantage of the new site was clear, as more than 20 people would have missed out if the camp had remained at Gerroa. With the move, also came a change in the name of the experience, to the National Oblate Youth Encounter.

The fifth Encounter, (Fitzroy Falls December 2004), became truly national.  There were 97 attendees, including representatives from each of the five states where the Oblates of Mary Immaculate work.  As well as participants from Victoria, NSW and SA, attendees included 5 from Western Australia, 1 from Rosies QLD and 10 from Iona College QLD.

Due to the World Youth Day Pilgrimage to Germany in 2005, the annual national encounter was not held.   However, in 2006, the Encounter returned in excellent form- with 110 participants gathering in mid-January in Glenaladale, VIC.   The 2007 Encounter at Glenaladale hosted 120, including 2 international guests– Oblate priests from the US.
  
2008 was a big year for Oblate Youth Australia. In July World Youth Day came to Sydney and the Oblate Provence decided to place their trust in the youth to organise, host (on behalf of the provence) and run an International Oblate Youth Encounter (IOYE) for International Oblates and Oblate Youth Alike. This oppertunity was taken up by the Oblate Youth of Australia and they set about preparing for over three years.

In July of 2008 the world came and the team for the IOYE were ready. 250 participants from Australia 500 from around the world and over 50 oblate fathers and brothers came to join in a community of prayer, faith and life. Festivals of Charism, witness and Culture along with an interfaith ceremony in the heart of melbourne formed the framework of experience where hundred got the chance to meet others from around the world with the same passion for Christ in the Charism of St Eugene de Mazenod.

The group of 80 then travelled to Sydney to join over 500,000 other Catholic's for WYD. 

In 2009, NOYE was held at Forest Edge in Neerim, Victoria. Over 80 young people gathered together to continue the spirit from 2008’s IOYE.

2010 saw the camp site change to Nunyara, Adelaide. Again, 80 strong participated in the camp.

NOYE 2011 and 2012 were both held at Fern Gully Lodge in Healesville, Victoria. 

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