This memory from a participant at the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) 2013 is a foretaste of what can be anticipated in Adelaide in early December. A contingent from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle will be participating and excitement’s building. The diocesan co-ordinators are Baden Ellis, Sam Hill and Elizabeth Doyle, and both Baden and Liz have happy memories of the impact of World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008.
Now it’s Adelaide’s turn to be enlivened by some 4,000 visitors, most of them young, most of them Catholic, all of them committed to an experience that promises to be enriching, energising and encouraging.
Sam’s looking forward to her first ACYF, encouraged by Baden who was in Melbourne in 2013. “There will be lots of different festival experiences including live bands, music, ‘chill out’ spaces – in Melbourne there was even a jumping castle!”
One of the keynote speakers is musician and preacher, Steve Angrisano. “Steve has an excellent way of drawing young people into prayer and participation, through his music and his stories,” said Baden.
Another talented guest is Victorian musician Fr Rob Galea, who visited Newcastle last year. “He tends to get the crowd really pumping, he has a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of life!” according to Sam.
There will be an array of workshops in the overarching categories of Listening, Discernment and Formation. These will offer small and large group gatherings where participants share with, and learn from, other young people, church leaders and individuals living their faith in a variety of ways.
Formally and informally, there will be plenty of opportunities for young people to share their own stories, ask questions and take time out for prayer, reflection and relaxation.
Bishop Bill Wright was a keen participant in Melbourne in 2013 and has signed up again. “It was a tremendous gathering,” he said recently. “Terrific to be among thousands of our Catholic young people, getting the opportunity to meet each other, share their ideas and thoughts, pray together, to learn more of their own tradition, to have their own spin on where they want the future to go.... Most significantly, to be that sign of the Holy Spirit who’s still at work among us.
“Go to the Catholic Youth Festival, experience the power of God in your life. I hope to see you there!”
Bishop Bill is keen to spend as much time with the diocesan participants as possible, including celebrating Mass with them at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.
Sam and Baden encourage young people from Year 9 to 25 years to accept Bishop Bill’s invitation. You are guaranteed a warm welcome, new friends and a memorable experience that won’t end in Adelaide.