On the 2nd of December, eight young people and a priest from the CYM Perth Group embarked on a journey towards Melbourne for the biggest Catholic youth gathering in Australia, since World Youth Day 2008.
The Australian Catholic Youth Festival which was held on the 5th to the 7th of December at the Australian Catholic University grounds and the Festival Hall in Melbourne was an event that many young people will remember for a very long time.
The theme of the festival was, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me’ Luke 4:18. This was truly evident in the program and the climate generated by the organising committee throughout the festival.
Around 3500 young people from across the country united in the festivities, in which also comprised of 150 plus delegates from Western Australia. During the three days, all registered participants partook in various seminars, prayer sessions, workshops, live music, rooftop sessions and many more.
A plethora of guest speakers included Bishop Fisher (Parramatta Diocese), Bishop Hurley (Darwin Diocese) and Sr. Hilda Scott heartened and inspired the thousands of young people who eagerly listened to topics, such as “How to defend your faith without raising your voice” and Finding Answers to the Hard Questions.
The speakers gladly engaged with the young people and entered into a dialogue with them, giving the young people an opportunity to speak up, express themselves and be heard.
A noteworthy highlight of the three day youth festival were the three Plenary Sessions, in which all 3500 participants gathered together in the Festival Hall in West Melbourne for an encounter with Jesus and their fellow youth. The plenaries included powerful testimonies, epic dance tutorials, colourful glow sticks and a slow motion Mexican wave. Uplifting praise and worship sessions were also provided by Steve Angrisano from USA, Fr Rob Galea and Genevieve Bryant, three of the best Catholic musicians today.
The youth festival ended on a high with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Hart, the Archbishop of Melbourne. He encouraged the youth in the crowd to continue to grow in their faith, to stand up for what they believe in and to spread the gospel.
The Australian Catholic Youth Festival not only provided young people with the knowledge and skills to spread the Gospel, but most importantly it transformed their hearts. Not even the four seasons in one day climate in Melbourne could dampen the spirits of the Perth delegates, nor stifle the joy in their faces. All went back to their homes on fire and with a renewed spirit.
For more Australian Catholic Youth Festival encounters and stories please like the Facebook page of Catholic Youth Ministry Perth and watch our day to day Video Blog. You can also view this on Youtube.