Monday, 29 April 2013


Almost a couple of months ago now I was up the Sunny Coast on camp with the Year 12 men from Padua College (I was there as part of the Men Alive team). An important element of the camp/retreat program they have there is physical activity. Actually, "physical activity" is a bit of an understatement. I'm talking rafting in the ocean, mountain biking up impossibly steep slopes and the ever daunting challenge of a high ropes course.

Now, I like to consider myself somewhat athletic (certainly not a prime physical specimen); but heading into the camp I was liking my chances of keeping up with the boys throughout the week. Then they wheeled out  the mountain bikes. See, I haven't ridden a bike since I was 14 years old, and as much as we throw around the old adage "it's like riding a bike", I was becoming quite anxious about navigating the steep, rocky, slippery, deadly slopes that made up the bike track. I survived and didn't fall off once (there were some very close calls though) and it turned out to be quite an enjoyable new experience (so much so that I said I would take up mountain biking...I haven't yet!)

But the real challenge, the defining moment, the man-or-mouse junction came on the high ropes course.You see, I like the ground: it's stable, relatively still and you can't fall through the ground 10-15 meters and split your skull open. A high ropes course offers none of the above reassurances. Oh, did I mention I'm afraid of heights! But I knew I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't try the different obstacles; and certainly the Padua boys wouldn't have let me live it down either! So up I went, and like all things it was fine once I was up there. 

Me traversing the high ropes course

Except for one obstacle: the climbing net. Imagine a rope net, hung from tree branches and not tied down at the bottom. The moment you begin climbing this thing the whole net twists, swings, sags, turns and tells you: "you will not make it to the top!" After making it only half way on my first attempt I believed it, shrugged my shoulders and went back down, body intact but ego bruised.

Obviously I tried again. Unsatisfied with my first attempt (mostly because the others were saying how easy it was) I launched myself up the rope rungs once more! Like in my first attempt, exhaustion set in half way through but I pushed myself and (eventually) succeeded in climbing to the top!

I learnt a lot about myself on that camp. I was way out of my comfort zone hurtling down a hill on a mountain bike. I pushed myself to my limit pulling myself up that climbing net. We often hear about getting out of our comfort zone, but how often do we look at how comfortable we are in who we are? Before the Padua camp I hadn't realised how comfortable  I was in myself, I hadn't challenged myself in a long time, I hadn't experienced anything new in months. I was living a "familiar" life. I needed to freak myself out a little bit and it took jumping of a platform suspended 15 meters in the air. How can you freak yourself out of what's familiar to you?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Get with the trend!

My friends on facebook may have noticed their newsfeeds have filled up with numerous photos from me of Quo Vadis wristbands. A few blog posts ago I ranted about seemingly pointless web trends. Well, I decided to create my own trend: Quo Vadis-ing! Here's how to do it:

  1. Get a Quo Davis wristband. We usually hand these out when the Roadshow goes on visits, or alternatively you can get one from us at one of our events (Quo Vadis Weekend, Leaven Hour, VOCadventure), any of the events we attend (Fuel, Marist Exchange Nights, the Ignite Conference, Australian Youth Festival) or come visit our office!
  2. Add Vocations Centre Brisbane on facebook
  3. Think of a creative way of photographing your Quo Vadis wristband
  4. Whip out your IPhone, smart phone or camera and take picture of said idea
  5. Post it on facebook and tag the Vocations Centre Brisbane. Alternatively you could post it on instagram with the tag #quovadis
  6. Explain to your friends what Quo Vadis means (this may require learning what Quo Vadis means)
  7. And now you're Quo Vadis-ing!

The New Evangelisation is all about finding new and fresh ideas of sharing the faith. I think Quo Vadis-ing is a really easy way not just to share your faith, but to encourage others to think about where they're going. And there's no silly dance moves involved! So get on board and get creative, I can't wait to see what you can come up with!

Monday, 8 April 2013


Have you ever wondered about the impact your life has on other people? I was down in Toowoomba this last week for Movers and Shakers, a leadership training program for young people. There were 40 participants gathered together to sharpen their leadership tools and grow as leaders. They may not realise it, but many of these young people had an impact on my life.

Fr Morgan answering Questions of Faith at Movers and Shakers

Movers and Shakers gathers young people aged 16-19 from all around QLD. The program draws the participants together as a community and they are faced with numerous activities which challenges their problem solving, team work and persistence. The week is about learning new leadership tools and sharpening their existing skills. My role throughout the week was as a Small Group Facilitator (shout out to the Hakuna Matatas!).

Watching the participants tackle the activities, hearing their responses to the input and experiencing the new bonds of friendship inspired me in ways I was not expecting. It was inspiring to see some of the young people step out of their comfort zone and stand before their peers. It was awesome (in the truest sent of the word) to accomplish the difficult task of creating an Egg Protection Device (it's ok that you don't know what that means, you had to be there). It was heart-warming to see participants comfort each other as home-sickness set in. Most of all, it was inspiring for me to see young people generously and authentically step it up everyday in so many different ways.

Over the last five years I've worked in ministry and different leadership roles. In a lot of ways I'd grown comfortable and plateaued in my own personal development. The facilitators and participants of Movers and Shakers reminded me that there's always room to grow.

I learnt about the importance of authenticity and compassion as a leader, I learnt about leadership as influencing a group of individuals towards a common goal, I learnt about different leadership styles; and I was impacted by young people who embraced all of this in the short span of a week - imagine what they could do with the rest of their lives!