by BRIEGE KONING
MATAMATA — More than 300 young people gathered at Totara Springs Christian Camp in mid-April for what is regarded as the best SetFree weekend yet.
This year brought Chris Padgett from the United States as the keynote speaker and presenter.

The band encouraging young people in praise and worship. Left: Chris Padgett in full fl ight at the SetFree weekend. (Photos: Hayden Praveen Graham, Christchurch diocese).

Mr Padgett opened the weekend with a variety of inspiring stories as the SetFree band led the participants into a time of worship.
The reflective, yet joyful, anticipation of the Blessed Sacrament in Friday night’s adoration set the atmosphere for the whole weekend.
Saturday began with Mass celebrated by Fr Matt McAuslin, followed by a variety of workshops. Among these were “Christ in the Mass” presented by Matthew Gibson, a Hamilton seminarian from Holy Cross Seminary.
Br Johannes-Pio spoke on the challenging culture we face in the age of improving technology and social media.
Fr Dominique Faure, from the community of St John in Christchurch, spoke to our new stream of 18+ young adults.
This year SetFree grew by providing an opportunity for those who exceeded the age limit to return, or to join for the first time. That change proved a success, and more than 80 young adults joined
in on the action, fit with their own 18+ “lounge”.
A highlight was the Saturday evening, where many were able to encounter Jesus Christ in a special way through adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
We were honoured to have Bishop Denis Browne join us in celebrating Holy Mass on Palm Sunday.
Comments included: “I absolutely loved it! The band was fantastic and Chris was so amazing and really inspiring! He needs to come every year!”
“I think everything was amazing and I’m so thankful that I came!”

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