Embracing God In All Careers: Theology Hour At Campion College
Young people from across Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains and beyond have been inspired and encouraged to live and express their faith in their everyday working lives.
On a warm Wednesday evening on 20 September, around 100 people gathered for Theology Hour, a joint initiative between Catholic Youth Parramatta (CYP) and Campion College, for young people aged 18-35.
Nurse Kyla Clasie, Wests Tigers NRL player Adam Doueihi and artist Paul Newton shared how God called them to their profession and how they remain faithful amongst the challenges they face.
A question from the audience had the panellists explaining how they speak about their faith in their workplaces.
Referencing a quote from St Francis of Assisi, Kyla said she prefers her actions to speak more than her words.
“With patients, there is a degree of sensitivity about it, and often I’ll refer them to the hospital chaplain in they are in need in that way.
“If it’s my colleagues, I’m happy to chat and I’ve told them that I need to go to church because I need to get better. We all get stressed out or tired, and my colleagues know that I need God and I need my faith to be the best person I can be,” she said.
Paul emphasised for the conversation to be natural and for faith to be brought into it gently and not something that is forced or out of the blue.
“Sometimes, I talk about how the best work that I do is usually when I get out of the way, when I stop trying to do it myself and rely on God to do it. Certain things would happen that would make me realise that God was there, even though he disguised his presence very well.”
In a question referencing the controversial Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles pride jersey, each of the panellists were asked how they would encourage young Catholics to act in a similar situation if something went against their faith.
Adam explained that he would have reacted in a similar way to the Manly players who refused to wear the jersey. “Those players got a lot of support and a lot of us Christian players and others of faith reached out to them, because it was a big call for them to take a stance,” he said.
Kyla said that there are a number of ethical situations she is put into, and she has removed herself from certain procedures such as abortions, but reinforced the importance of open communication when those things arise. “It is difficult sometimes because you can’t judge the patient, but you can walk with them, support them and show them love,” she said.
Paul understands that the art world is often not sympathetic to Christianity but would let his art do the talking. “I just try and produce a really good painting the best that I can. You don’t want to be chasing what the judges are looking for, just stay grounded in your personal position,” he said.
The panellists shared how they came to their careers and how God has guided them on the journey.
Kyla explained that because her mother was a nurse, nursing was a “plan B that became a plan A”.
“I think the fact that I had this planted seed [of nursing] meant that I was always open to it in some way,” she said.
“When it did become plan A and I started working in nursing, it just felt right.
“I’ve had moments where God has nudged me in my work such as asking me to check on a child on the ward, even if I’d already seen them or checking medication. By listening to these nudges from God confirms to me that I’m in the right place and I’m doing what I need to do.
“I don’t regret it at all. I know it’s the right career path for me.”
Playing sport as a child and having a passion for rugby league lead Adam to consider becoming a full-time professional athlete.
“Growing up, I was always that kid at school that said I was going to play rugby league when I finished,” he described. “I probably had teachers and students laugh at me for thinking about it because not many people make it.
“I was always talented at playing rugby league, but I wanted to work hard after school and after hours to be the best I could be.
“I made all the A-teams during school and I was lucky that I was scouted straight out of school and have been playing full-time since. There have been challenges and doubts along the way, but my mentality of working hard got me through it.”
For Paul, walking into art school despite having no training was where he felt confirmation that this is what he was meant to be doing with his life.
“I saw these really interesting and eccentric people wandering around, and I suddenly felt that I could breathe a sigh of relief, feeling that I belonged somewhere. It felt very comfortable, even though it was very foreign,” he described.
“When I was asked to paint Our Lady of the Southern Cross for World Youth Day 2008, I went into a local school, and with their parents’ permissions, I photographed students to find inspiration for Our Lady. There was one student who, in the photographs, had this extraordinary serenity and peace to her and I used her as the basis for the portrait.”
Tony Mattar, Student Life and Alumni Relations Officer at Campion College, told Catholic Outlook that he was thankful for being able to create an evening of fellowship, faith and formation for young Catholics in the Diocese.
“When I asked one of the attendees about something they took away from the evening, they answered, ‘we should never be afraid of our faith, nor compromise it. No matter what the profession is, God will aways give us an opportunity to evangelise’.
“Another group commented on the vibrancy of the night. They enjoyed connecting and meeting new people who were willing to explore their faith more.
“It was great to see the numbers grow from our first Theology Hour, which is a testament that the youth are after authentic Catholicism.
“We can’t wait to bring this back in 2024!”