Matter of faith

010611aklkbchurch2story-image1.JPGDanny Kettoola. Photo / Kellie Blizard Catholics are preparing for a day of global affirmations next month, as Rowena Orejana reports.
Danny Kettoola is passionate about his faith. But the Chaldean Catholic says that wasn’t always the case.

“A life of what the world calls successful for someone my age is more about the more girls you have, the more you can drink and do drugs, then you are cool, then you are popular, then you are with the in-crowd,” he says.

But five years ago, feeling dissatisfied with life in general, he started asking questions and found the answers in his faith.

“There was a massive transformation,” he says, “a 180-degree turn. I just felt the love that the world couldn’t give. I was being impacted so much that

I really felt the need to come back to our community and to our youth and show them an example of what life could be like when it’s lived under God’s grace.”

Mr Kettoola is one of the youth leaders helping organise a Catholic youth celebration in Auckland simultaneous with the World Youth Day in Madrid. The 2008 World Youth Day was in Sydney and, being so close to New Zealand, thousands of young Kiwis were able to travel there to take part.

Teresa McNamara, co-ordinator of youth and young adult ministry, says about 100 young people will be attending the Spanish event – about 40 of them Aucklanders.

Activities in Auckland start on August 19 and include praying stations of the cross and adoration.

The following day will be for undertaking community service.

Cathechesis, prayers and musical concerts will be held in Auckland city and in south Auckland.

A highlight of the Auckland celebrations will be the Pilgrim Walk, a feature of World Youth Day celebrations. “We are going to start on the outskirts of the [Auckland] city and walk towards St Patrick’s Cathedral,” says Ms McNamara. “It would be a public demonstration of our faith.”

The walk will come from different directions to form a cross. Then, the pilgrims will hold hands and pray.

The weekend will conclude with a mass celebrated by Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn. Ms McNamara says the World Youth Day “encourages you to look at your faith in a new light and think about how faith plays out in our lives today”.


The Chaldean Catholic Church traces its origins to one of the 12 apostles, St Thomas. It was spread by St Addai, one of the 72 faithfuls outside of the 12. It’s in full communion with the Catholic Church in Rome.

For more info on Auckland World Youth Day celebrations, see