Pizza, prayer, prefects – from ten Catholic colleges in Auckland diocese – and mix-and-mingle games added up to a pretty enjoyable evening at McAuley High School in Otahuhu on May 5.
The somewhat shy conversations and acknowledgements at the start were transformed to boisterous singing and games, amid much laughter, as the evening titled “McAuley Meetup” progressed.
The occasion was organised by McAuley student leaders. After a greeting and gathering liturgy, students from each of the colleges presented something of their school’s history, spirituality, and charism.
The students then tucked into pizza, juice and ice cream, and afterwards the games followed.
Prior to saying grace before the pizza was served, Otahuhu parish priest Fr Martin Wu thanked the students for their leadership.
“You have all shared a different aspect of your school, but there is so much in common, that is that we follow the way of Christ,” Fr Wu.
“I always feel that when I go to a Catholic school . . . it is like a great battery-charger for me, because I see so much hope in the young people in our Church, in our schools, in our world.”
The students had more reason than one to be thankful for Fr Wu’s presence – not only did he pray with them, he also supplied the ice cream.
McAuley director of religious studies John Hall told NZ Catholic that the “McAuley Meetup” follows a long tradition of such interschool gatherings, which started as “Faith and Chips” and then became “Pizza and Praise”.
But the event did not take place last year, and with the annual Pompallier Shield competition between Auckland diocese Catholic colleges not happening this year – because of Covid uncertainty (the decision was taken a few months ago) – Mr Hall thought that students needed to come together, so that the student leaders could network and form friendships.
“It is really good for the girls here at McAuley to get just an insight into how the other schools work, who they are. And for those schools to come here and think, oh, South Auckland isn’t so bad after all. . . . It is a positive thing to do,” Mr Hall said.
From the looks on the students’ faces at the end of the evening, it seemed that they thought so too.