Around 200 S6 pupils from across the diocese of Dunkeld recently gathered together for a day of reflection. Young people from St John’s High School and St Paul’s High School in Dundee joined their fellow students in St John’s Academy, Perth to reflect on the messages of Pope Benedict to young people during last year’s historic visit to Britain.
With the theme, ‘Finding a purpose in life’, the conference was opened by Audrey May, Headteacher of St John’s Academy, who reminded the students of Pope Benedict’s call to ‘grow in holiness’. The pupils were challenged and inspired by keynote speakers Fr Tom Shields (Dunkeld Diocese) and Dr Stephen McKinney (University of Glasgow) to be saints of the twenty-first century.
During the course of the day, students met in small groups where they encountered an impressive range of Christians who live their faith in their daily lives, including priests, religious, chaplains, a doctor, a Church of Scotland minister, teachers, business leaders and local MSP Rosanna Cunningham. In these groups, pupils had the opportunity to discuss the challenges of being examples of faith in public and consider what the Pope’s words ‘the Church belongs to you’ means for them.
The day’s finale was led by the Scotland Trust’s One Band who performed pop and Christian songs for an enthusiastic audience.
Depute Headteacher of St John’s Academy, Seán Hagney, said: ‘The Dunkeld S6 Conference has given our senior students an opportunity to reflect again on the inspiring words of Pope Benedict, and has given them space to reflect on their Christian vocation. Many people across many professions gave their time generously to speak about the challenges of living out the Christian faith in Scotland today and were impressed by the students’ desire to think deeply about their own contribution to society and the Church. The response of the students across the three schools has been fantastic and it’s been a great opportunity for them to meet and learn from one another.’