Inspired by his parents who encouraged and challenged him to dig deeper into his Catholic, faith – Isiah Boylen, one of ten 2021 BJ Hickey scholars, is excited to pass on the knowledge he will gain from his sponsored biblical studies to the youth and community he currently serves.
Isiah, 17, was selected for the scholarship program founded by former Archbishop of Perth, Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey, along with Adeline Bock, Michaela Firth, Judy Castellino, Elijah Reed, Indigo Hurleigh-Craig, Stefan Fernando, Trinity Reed, Monica Hunter and John Ratajczak.
The group was present at St Mary’s Cathedral Parish Centre for the award ceremony on Friday 26 February.
Organised by the Archdiocesan Centre for Faith Enrichment (CFE), the event theme Scripturae Sacrae Affectus (translated as Devotion to Sacred Scripture) inspired by Pope Francis’ apostolic letter commemorating the sixteen hundredth anniversary of the death of Saint Jerome – served as a great reminder to scholars of their mission, as they embark on a journey to deepen their Scriptural knowledge.
“I am currently a Youth Leader at 24:7 in Osborne Park and Ocean Reef. I also help out with ministry work in schools, and a deeper understanding of the faith will help me to share it a lot better with the youth at the schools around Perth,” Isiah said.
“My family is Catholic and all through my life growing up, I have had people who love their faith all around me. When I was younger, I attended catechesis classes; I Stand camps run by the Youth Mission Team and WA Young Salesians camps, of which I am now a leader for.
“Besides my family, I was inspired to pursue Scripture through the lecturers at Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation, and the 24:7 Youth Ministers, all of whom have a real love and understanding of their faith,” he added.
“This has instilled within me a hunger to dig deeper into the faith, to have a better understanding, to grow into adulthood with a more adult appreciation of the faith and to share that faith with everyone around me.”
Indigo, 25, who will be studying the Pentatuch and the Synoptic Gospels at the University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle, admits that after years of straying away from the faith, she hopes the scholarship will provide her with an avenue to pick up where she left off, and to pursue her goal of being a chaplain.
“I was baptised Catholic as an infant, but I wasn’t raised Catholic. I did end up going to a Catholic high school and was confirmed there, but I lost my faith shortly after and ended up becoming an atheist after being agnostic for a while,” Indigo explained.
“It took several years for me to come back to the faith, but since I have, I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can.
I’m open to whatever God has in store, whether it be chaplaincy or serve wherever I can be of service,” she added.
Inspired by the message of Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB “the Catholic tradition understands that scriptures belong in the heart of the church….Scriptures give expression to the faith of our church” and that “the church is community and without a community and people, the church loses its reason for being,” Judy, 58, who is now at the twilight years of her working life, and will soon be studying Scripture at the Broken Bay Institute – The Australian Institute of Theological Education (BBI-TAITE), said she is open to new possibilities to discern what God wants for her.
“I am inspired by the courageous stories of people overcoming hardships in the face of great suffering. The charity work of missionaries and laypeople who fight for justice and work tirelessly to overcome prejudice and misunderstandings,” Judy stated.
“This is remarkable not so much in what they achieved, but by the simplicity and humility in how they achieve it.
“Teachers, who inspire working-class children and work in challenging areas – They bring about the best in their pupils who would never have excelled, were it not for such good role models,” she added.
“[With this opportunity to pursue biblical studies] I hope to share the knowledge in a practical way to bring Scripture and contemplation to children and adults in their faith formation.”