Grappling with Big Questions of Human Existence

Youth Leaders from North Beach Parish hosted an event with guest speaker Fr Brendan Purcell on Friday March 13th. The event which doubled as a World Youth Day fundraiser was a huge success.
The topic “Human Origins and Destiny – In the light of creation and evolution”, explored the nature and significance of human beings. Fr Brendan was a wealth of knowledge, having written a book on a similar topic. He drew insight from revelation, philosophy as well as the natural sciences, emphasizing that these vastly different disciplines complemented each other as they were all seeking the same truth.
Kathleen Matthys who attended said, she “found it a very engaging and dynamic talk because Father Brendan highlighted the dignity of the human being using a variety of perspectives including human history, culture and science. It addressed the fundamental question of the meaning of life in a fresh and comprehensive way.”

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Seven features which make human beings particularly remarkable were highlighted.  These include our common genetics, complexity of language, use of symbols, and highly relational nature; as well as the human being’s highly advanced faculties for acquiring knowledge and making free choices.

Fr Brendan made particular point of the spiritual nature of human beings. It is a significant and profound aspect of humanity that we endeavour to find meaning in existence and to express that meaning. It is in a way an inbuilt inclination towards the transcendent, towards God. Quoting French  pre-historian Jean Clottes, it was suggested that we would perhaps better be defined not as homo sapien (knowing being) but as Homo “spiritualis”  (spiritual being).

Fr Brendan gave an insightful and engaging presentation, which sparked a lively question time. Many thanks to all those who attended, and to North Beach Parish for facilitating a great evening. Anyone interested in connecting with youth ministry at North Beach Parish should contact youth leaders Andrew Devitt 0403 855 069  or Steph Peake 0427 527 067.

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