Creating a new generation of role models, focused on Jesus in an indifferent society
By Josh Low
Known worldwide as the singing priest on reality music competition, The X Factor, Fr Rob Galea was recently in Perth as the opening keynote speaker at this year’s Veritas Youth Festival that ran from 30 June to 2 July.
In an interview with The eRecord, Fr Rob spoke of his address to the youth for the opening night of Veritas and of the relationship between young people and the Catholic faith.
Held at the University of Notre Dame’s Fremantle Campus, Fr Rob’s speech was based on a fragment of the overall theme of the festival, “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His Name.” (Luke 1:49).
He spoke about recognising the small ways that God seeks to enter our everyday lives, the importance of developing a relationship with God and followed by leading the congregation present in praise and worship, together with the Ignite Live band.
Fr Rob believes that there are generally two ways in which young people tend to view God.
“I think we either see God as too distant and far away, not understanding who He is, or there’s a tendency to see Him as a familiar God, like how some of our young people call Jesus ‘Big J’.
“The latter has a beautiful sense of familiarity but at the same time, a tendency to forget the transcendence; the greatness of God,” Fr Rob said.
“This is our struggle; always trying to figure out who He is; trying to figure out an infinite God in the context of our limited and finite minds,” he said.
Fr Rob added that the culture we live in contributes to the increase in young people finding it difficult to believe in a God that seeks to be involved in their lives.
“Culture determines our search for God. Our culture is a secular culture, so there are many things that fulfil that immediate need of God, like sports and friends, which are good things along with other things such as acquiring goods.
“These fill the temporary need of God, but I think we will all be in for a shock when it’s all been said and done and we realise that we’ve spent our whole life turning away from a God who we were made to serve,” he said.
Fr Rob believes it is important for the Church to learn how to communicate God to a ‘generation that is indifferent’.
“I think one of the things we have to do is to go where young people are, understanding that the first thing young people will connect with may not be the transcendence of God, but the humanity of the person communicating the message.
“So I think what the Church needs to become is a role model. In many ways it has lost its credibility as a role model and that’s why the next generation – our generation, needs to rise up and create a new generation of role models who younger people want to be like, with Jesus as the focus,” he said.