Bishop Bill participated in previous festivals and led a 70-strong contingent to Krakow for the World Youth Day pilgrimage in July last year.
The three-day festival will be hosted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in partnership with the Archdiocese of Sydney. The event will be held at Sydney Olympic Park and at other key city locations. Organisers hope to attract 15,000 young people to celebrate their faith together. Archbishop of Sydney and Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Youth, Anthony Fisher OP, is looking forward to welcoming young people from across the country.
“I look forward to welcoming the youth of Australia to Sydney. Who could forget the energy and the buzz when we welcomed tens of thousands of young people for World Youth Day in 2008? Now, nearly a decade later, young people from across the country will join Church leaders to celebrate and pray for the young Church of Australia,” said Archbishop Fisher.
The festival marks the beginning of the Year of Youth in 2018 proclaimed by the Bishops of Australia to celebrate ten years since World Youth Day was hosted in Sydney. The theme of the Festival and the Year of Youth is, ‘Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy: Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment’.
The theme draws inspiration from Pope Francis’ address to young people at the Vigil at World Youth Day Krakow in 2016. Pope Francis continues to challenge the young people of the world to engage boldly with their faith, their relationship with Jesus and the world.
“My friends, Jesus is the Lord of risk, he is the Lord of the eternal ‘more’. Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security and ease. Following Jesus demands a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths….To take the path of the ‘craziness’ of our God, who teaches us to encounter him in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the friend in trouble, the prisoner, the refugee and the migrant, and our neighbours who feel abandoned. To take the path of our God, who encourages us to be politicians, thinkers, social activists.”
Anticipating the festival, Bishop Bill said he is “already encouraging the young people I meet to plan to participate, and the parish communities and schools to consider supporting their own to be part of the festival.
“There will never be a better opportunity to take part in an event which I believe will be life-giving, joyous and lots of fun,” said Bishop Bill.
Baden Ellis is Festival Co-ordinator for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. To learn more, please visit the diocesan website.