Home' The Southern Cross : December 2015 Contents ACYF Adelaide 2015
Between them they share a long list of
injuries and career challenges; however
they all attest it is their Catholic faith that
has been a key ingredient in their recovery
and sporting success.
"Without my faith, there is no way I could
come back," says Adelaide women’s
soccer team captain Marijana Rajcic after
she broke down in tears on stage at the
Australian Catholic Youth Festival.
Rajcic, a devoted member of Adelaide's
Catholic Croatian community, was sporting
her third serious knee injury at the "Rising
Above the Challenge" workshop with
Adelaide Thunderbirds netball player
Maddy Proud and former AFL Hawthorn
footballer Stephen Lawrence.
“People say things happen for a reason
and I believe there is a plan,” says Rajcic
who injured herself in one of the last
games of the year. “I still believe He
wouldn't give me this (injury) unless he
wanted me to go through it,” she says.
In the last 14 games Rajcic has scored
an impressive 38 goals in a season return
from a second left knee reconstruction
after re-rupturing her ACL.
She's facing yet another year off the field
for the latest injury to her right knee.
Youth attending the workshop prayed for
Rajcic and her speedy recovery.
Proud says her family's Catholic ethos has
given her the ability to keep tough training
or negative game results and injuries in
perspective and to help lead her team
mates in a fair and just way. Proud, an
Australian U/21 captain and the youngest
player at 16 to be contracted to the Trans-
Tasman league, says her faith has taught
her right from wrong on and off the court
and to stand up against injustice.
Former Hawks ruckman Lawrence says
he was recruited at 16 to a side that was
revered as one of the best in the 1980s.
"I was really nervous about how the guys
would feel about faith being such a large
part of my life," he says. "But I found that
they were much more respectful than I
Stephen says a trip to the confessional
prolonged his career during a bad
performing season. "I played for another
few years with Hawthorn after that
He also says he refused to train at 3pm on
Good Friday and grappled with whether to
play on Easter Sunday one year but while
he was being interviewed on radio for his
best player on the ground performance
the previous week he was asked by the
journalist whether he had any good news
to share. Stephen answered – "well yes,
Jesus rose from the dead today".
"It was a real gift; I'm sure it was a grace;
so many people heard that interview," says
Love or lust? It’s a question that drew
1500 Catholic youth to a presentation on
why they should wait for sex until after
Best-selling author of 10 books and
director of the Chasity Project Jason
Evert (pictured right) took centre stage in
Adelaide on December 4 at the festival.
“Take your time; find yourself and love will
find you,” he told a packed hall of Catholic
His message for the female audience was
to “let boys know you are worth waiting
to see and that you can’t see this body
until you lift the veil over my face” – which
received resounding applause.
Drawing on his own experience as a
27-year-old virgin groomsman, Jason says
real love can wait but lust usually can’t.
He says he felt sex was a lie without a
wedding ring. And he told youth not to feel
dejected if they’ve made an error in past
judgement. He says his wife Crystallina
choose chastity after they met and from
their union came three beautiful children.
Jason says he has received 28 Playboy
necklets given to him at the end of his
chastity presentations over six continents
by teenage girls promising themselves to
abstain from sex thereon. “It was their way
of starting over,” he says.
He told his male audience to avoid
pornography and smarten up over
friendship choices. “It’s a lot easier to live
a virtuous life if you have virtuous friends.”
He also urged youth to pray the rosary
or at least say a Hail Mary every day. “Or
just say the name of Mary when you’re
tempted – she will protect you.”
Daniella Bourizk, 16, of Holy Spirit College
Lakemba, Sydney, said she liked the fact
that Jason talked about an issue that was
relevant to young people’s lives. “There
should be more talking about sex before
marriage and keeping your faith strong,”
South Australian TV reality chef Laura
Cassai knows the kitchen is the heart of
the family home and that food connects
people all over the world.
She also knows that there are more than
one billion people who go hungry each
year despite the world producing enough
food for all.
“It’s actually quite sad to think that we
have so much food available here in
Australia and yet someone on the other
side of the world has nothing; it’s just
wrong,” says Laura (pictured right).
She promoted the issue of global hunger
and access to good nutrition as part of
Catholic international aid agency Caritas
Australia’s expo stall at the Australian
Catholic Youth Festival.
Laura spent time on December 4
highlighting the good work of a Caritas
program called Caritas Kitchen which
unites people over a meal to raise funds
for those in poverty.
She shot to fame last year as the runner-
up to Australia’s MasterChef TV series and
is currently working as a pastry chef at
Rundle St eatery Orana.
To learn more about how you can help end
global poverty by hosting your own Caritas
Kitchen visit www.caritas.org.au/kitchen.
Wounded sport star heals with faith
Mr Chastity a big hit
FACING ADVERSITY: L-R Sports stars Stephen Lawrence, Maddy Proud, panel facilitator Sam Clear and Marijana Rajcic at a festival workshop.
Plating up sustainably
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