The Southern Cross The Southern Cross

Read the latest edition. Latest edition

Walking with God program launched


A national program connecting young adults with the “wonder and awe” of God’s creation through prayer and reflection commenced in Adelaide last month.

Comments Print article

Developed by Caritas Australia, the ‘Walking with God’ initiative invites participants to connect with creation in their local area.

Caritas Youth Participation coordinator Sabrina Stevens said the program was based on Ignatian Spirituality which “challenges us to encounter God in all things”, and incorporates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander spirituality to provide a different perspective of connecting with creation.

Sabrina Stevens and John Lochowiak by the River Torrens during the Walking with God event.

Ms Stevens is a Kuku Yalanji and Yidinji woman from Far North Queensland. She said her role was to try to link the different parts of the Church and engage youth in new ways.

“In the Walking with God program on to country I get to share my relationship with creation from both my cultural heritage and my faith background,” she said.

“It is a really lovely way to share in the sacredness of creation while creating space for dialogue about integral ecology and ecological justice issues.”

Also the youth representative for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council, Ms Stevens approached the chair of the Council, John Lochowiak, to help lead the reflections in Adelaide.

A group of about 10 young adults gathered in the city for prayer and reflection, walking from Victoria Square to the River Torrens where Mr Lochowiak gave a Welcome to Country and talked about significant sites.

“It’s about being on country, and having that connection to country,” said Mr Lochowiak, who is manager of Centacare Aboriginal Services and head of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Adelaide.

“We all need to know the stories of our land, that’s what makes us more Australian.”

A Wati (initiated man), John has strong ties to many language groups throughout Australia, including the Pitjantjatjara, Kaurna, Ramindjeri and Arrernte.

The father of five was born in Coober Pedy to a Polish father and Aboriginal mother, Mabel Walker, who was chairperson of the Umoona Community Council for 30 years.

He said he hoped the Walking with God program would help to get young people back to the Church by “meeting them where they are at”.

“There is a real hunger now, particularly among young people, to learn more about Indigenous culture,” he said.

“We are a spiritual people, and by feeling the spirit of the land we can relate more to the Holy Spirit.

John Lochowiak and Sabrina Stevens (centre) share their cultural heritage with young Catholics in Elder Park.

“I remember seeing a couple of elders in the APY lands sitting under a tree reading the bible and they told me ‘these stories are like ours’.

”It made me realise that we have a lot more in common than differences, we’re all human beings and that’s what unites us…we can learn from each other.”

Caritas Australia is the international humanitarian relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in Australia.

For more information about the Walking with God program, contact Caritas Diocesan director Tracey Tessitore on 8210 8172 or email




Show comments Hide comments
Will my comment be published? Read the guidelines.

More Local stories

Loading next article