Living the Faith Series is a collection of stories of faith from the youth of the Archdiocese of Perth.
The beauty of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) was the aspect of a multimodal approach. It would occur to some, who may not understand the full extent of the youth festival, that this was just another boring event filled with ‘old-fashioned prayer’ and ‘lifeless speakers.’ This was definitely not the case with ACYF in 2019. I think what made it possibly one of the most effective youth-based events in Australia was its ability to draw the interests of all to a single purpose; the regrowth of a relationship with God.
I am Peter and it is my privilege to share my experience of ACYF to you all.
Before ACYF last year, I had only attended the Veritas events hosted in Perth; ACYF 2019 would be my first experience of Catholic youth festival of such magnitude. Small scale events such as Veritas were helpful in my faith journey as it was a great starter to understand that the faith you have is shared by many, that itself is a good feeling; to be included in something much larger than yourself. You could say that this is visible even in your own local parish every weekend. I myself attend the Vietnamese Catholic Community and Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement where most of my faith comes from; there is the sense of a communal spirit that brews every weekend. I understand not everyone is open to the idea of being overtly ready to accept the need to bond over a shared faith; some may find this personal and may never attend activities such as a youth group or even ACYF itself.
Having said this, I did not know what to expect at ACYF, except some music and workshops and that was it.
I was wrong.
ACYF had a flare that was able to bring us together
Humans are built differently with unique methods of engagement. We’re innately different but ACYF had a flare that was able to bring us together. Some people like the route of music or some may take meditation to enhance their faith journey. Music was a big part of my personal journey at ACYF… Seeing Father Rob Galea play on the stage, I’m sure everyone felt it too. Alongside this, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with one of the many bishops of Australia who were attending the festival. Having this conversation and listening to the musicians and vivid speakers on stage, I realised that the faith we share truly has some dynamism to it as it wasn’t just an average youth festival but something else.
The Church is broad
One of the many things that stuck with me after the experience of ACYF is that the Church is broad, in both the sense of the people of the Church and the universality of the Church. It is always reassuring to know that wherever you go in life or in the world, there will always be a place for you in a community, that is a Catholic family.