Trio takes the lead at youth festival

A Melbourne youth minister, an Adelaide boarding house supervisor and a student who helps out at a skydiving café on weekends will be the official MCs of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Adelaide in December.

Joshua Rajasingam, Caitlin Brown and Holly Roberts have been chosen by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Office for Youth to be the main presenters of each plenary gathering at the festival.

The trio will have a constant presence at the three-day event; talking with young people and recording footage for daily highlight reels. They will also act as festival youth ambassadors in the lead up to the event’s December 3 start date.

An initial line-up of festival presenters has also been announced and includes musician Father Rob Galea from the Sandhurst Diocese who became a television sensation as a contestant on “X-Factor” last month.

More than 2000 young people from around Australia had registered to attend the festival by the close of early bird registrations, with group bookings closing on October 23. Sixteen bishops and two administrator priests, including Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, who chairs the Australian Catholic Bishops Commission for Family, Youth and Life, will attend the event.

The MCs collectively hold an impressive CV of voluntary positions for the Youth Justice Centre, Marist Youth Ministry, Edmund Rice Camps, St Vincent de Paul, Build the Bridge and Antioch.

“The youthful Church encompasses so many dynamic individuals who are all passionate about different things in their lives, so I am hoping that the vibrancy of this festival will, above all, celebrate the love that our Church has to offer,” says Caitlin, 22, from Adelaide.

Caitlin is a Brighton parishioner and social justice youth development officer for the Adelaide Archdiocese Office for Youth and Young Adults. She is a Sacred Heart College old scholar and, as a boarder herself, is currently college boarding house supervisor.

Australian Catholic University teaching student Josh, 24, says his hope for the ACYF in Adelaide later this year is to give Catholic youth a sense of belonging. “I think that at times, it’s easy for us to fall into the trap of feeling like we have to hide our faith because it’s uncool or unpopular or too hard,” says Josh.

“What I hope for everybody is that they get a sense of how broad our Church is and how rich this life can be. I want people to walk away with a feeling that they are not alone and this is much bigger than just us.”

Josh is a youth minister with the Youth Engagement Project run by three parishes and two Catholic secondary schools in inner-East Melbourne. He is a Marcellin College Bulleen old scholar and a parishioner of St Martin of Tours in Rosanna.

Nineteen-year-old Holly is hoping to spread the word that young people are the future of the Catholic Church. “We have the power to see what is problematic in the world and change it,” she says. “We could have people sitting in the audience at the Festival that one day could find the cure for cancer or become a pioneer in ending poverty.”

Holly was born in Adelaide and educated at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Primary School, Antonio Catholic School and Cardijn College. She is tertiary student who works weekends at her Auntie’s café at a skydiving drop-zone just outside of the city.

Young people wanting to register for the festival can visit www.youthfestival.catholic.org.au or contact James Meston on 08 8301 6109.

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