By Thobias Danudoro

Before even boarding the plane to Sydney, I already had my doubts about joining 19,000 young people in celebrating the Catholic faith for the biannual Australian Catholic Youth Festival. After all, I had been forced to come thanks to my mum and so thought that the experience would be a waste of my time.

However, the very moment that the first-morning plenary began I abandoned those doubts and was completely struck in awe. It was during this festival that critically acclaimed artists, motivational speakers, thousands of young people from around Australia and God himself came together under one roof, to sing, praise and pray together.

My personal favourite experiences were the talks by Sister Hilda, performances by Steve Angrisano and Matt Maher and of course, the closing Mass. Sister Hilda’s talks came second to none; as she gave us young people inspirational speeches and advice to help us immerse ourselves in the presence of God in our personal daily lives.

The performances from Catholic musicians, Matt Maher and Steve Angrisano honestly left the mark of God’s love on all our hearts as everyone in that stadium put their arms on the air and reached up to the heavens driven by the serenity of their powerful spiritual songs.

 

Most unforgettable was the closing Mass in The Domain as thousands walked through the streets of Sydney banding close together to close the festival with a beautiful Mass, ran by dozens of priests, bishops and archbishops. The beauty of the Mass was genuinely worth the amount of walking we had to do (which was a lot, to say the least). To top off all that excitement of the final day of the festival, the exciting announcement that the next ACYF in December 2019 will be held in Perth was made much to the delight of the Perth pilgrims who attended the festival.

I am thankful for all the new people I got to meet through this experience and for all those I got to spend quality time with, as well as my mum who ultimately made me go and live out this fantastic experience. I genuinely hope to see all the young people in attendance at ACYF and many more during the next ACYF in Perth.  See you all in two years’ time!