Living the Faith Series is a collection of stories of faith from the youth of the Archdiocese of Perth.
I struggled to come into the teenage life
Hiii everyone!! I’m Sidney, before I get into the good stuff of what ACYF has done for me, let’s get to know each other! I’ll start!!
I’m in my second last year of high school studying to get into University (hopefully) to study in a medical field (hopefully). I’m really fond of interacting and meeting new people to create new bonds and be sufficiently comfortable to discuss a relationship with God and religion as a whole.
I believe getting into that level of talking about God requires deep experience and connection for others to understand and sympathise towards. For me, ACYF 2019 (Australian Catholic Youth Festival) without hesitation, was THE experience that encouraged me to talk about God more passionately than ever before. The three-day event literally was living the faith. Even after one day of the event, it was impossible not to feel sad about it ending in two days. Honestly, I think everyone who has attended ACYF will agree with me when I say, ACYF is an experience you don’t want to miss.
An experience you don’t want to miss
Being a teenager in this generation is a constant battle, not only because of the competition of being ‘accepted’ but the expectations impinged on us. Personally, I struggled to come into the teenage life and that’s okay because as cliché as it sounds, I wasn’t alone.
2019 was a complex maze I struggled to escape from. To admit, I was lost in my path with God and my presence attending my youth group started to decrease immensely. I was even debating to not attend ACYF anymore…Thankfully, my youth peers didn’t give up on encouraging me to attend. Around the end of September 2019, I began to walk in the dark to find the light of God again. My Youth Group pulled me along into the Second Session before ACYF. This one session was enough for me to see the light once again. By the third and last session, I was running towards the light. Then, ACYF happened after my exams. ACYF lit me up and no words can describe the experience it brought to me. If perfection had an experience, honestly, I would match it to ACYF.
I was running towards the light
It was my first time being around thousands and thousands of young people at an event. It was not at all what I imagined it to be. It was way beyond. I never thought I’d be sweating with happiness. You can truly feel the Holy Spirit move in the atmosphere and the thousands of youth were moving along with it. Everyone was so kind and happy; I cannot recall a face that had a frown. I still laugh to this day at the time I put my hand on the glass of the convention building and three random girls I haven’t met ran towards the glass to put their hand against mine. That just proves how everyone was so welcoming and uplifting towards each other.
You’re 100% not alone… God sees your struggle
Post-ACYF, I have to say was so strange. I returned to school with the aurora of the Holy Spirit. My Youth Group experienced the ‘Post ACYF depression’. I automatically talked about my experience to my friends and they told me to get back into the ‘real world’.
ACYF was the real world for me and it fueled me up even more as a Catholic. The talks had controversial topics with inspiring presenters such as Pornography and Relationships that most teens in this generation can relate to.
Overall, what I’m trying to say is ACYF must definitely be on your bucket list. I’m so grateful for my youth group persevered. It was honestly the best reward to receive after exam season. So, if you’re currently struggling with your faith and feel like God has been silent, you’re 100% not alone. Spend time with Him, know His voice, how are you supposed to listen for God’s voice if you don’t even know what it sounds like. Know that God sees your struggle, He is closer than you think.