Two weeks to go – Diocese youth in final stage of preparations for Australian Catholic Youth Festival

Youth from around the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle gathered last Saturday 16 November for their second and final Formation Day prior to their pilgrimage to Perth in December for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF).

The day began with a conversation around the ACYF logo. Group facilitator, Samantha Hill, invited pilgrims to discuss its features in order to develop a greater understanding of their significance.

The various colours, jumbled lines and centrality of the cross were all features pointed out by the group.

As Sam explained, “the mix of colours and jumbled lines represent people from all different places and backgrounds coming together for a shared experience.”

“The cross is in the centre is because Christ is at the core of what ACYF is all about.”

After they had finished decoding the logo, pilgrims stood for an activity organised by Sam, which involved one pilgrim chasing another through a maze made up of others who adjusted their configuration based on instructions provided by Sam throughout the activity.

There was a deeper meaning to the activity than just a bit of fun, though.

“At ACYF, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the experience,” Sam said. “Some of you will be going one way and some of you will be going another way, but just remember to slow down and take it all in.”

“There’s a big difference between a pilgrim and a tourist. A tourist travels mostly for pleasure. A pilgrim’s journey is a spiritual one, to strengthen their relationship with God.”

The group finished off the afternoon with a photo in their brand-new pilgrim t-shirts before a discussion of trip/festival details and mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

The Australian Catholic Youth Festival takes place between 8 – 10 December in Perth, with an additional retreat immediately following the festival as an option for interested pilgrims.

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Alexander Foster Image
Alexander Foster

Alexander Foster is the Digital Communications Officer in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle