Unlike ACYF’s first two days, day three did not include morning or evening plenary sessions. Instead, pilgrims were able to attend workshops from 9:15am.
Workshops included ‘Chosen: Discovering and Responding to God’s Call’ with Joe Melendrez, one of the festival’s headlining performers; ‘Claiming Amazing Grace when your life feels like the Amazing Race’ with Judy Bowe MGL and Therese Mills MGL, competitors on 2019’s ‘Amazing Race’ series and two of this year’s keynote plenary presenters; and ‘Making it real: Genuine human encounter in our digital world,’ a panel discussion about the pros and cons, tips and tricks, and different ways to evangelise and promote faith, hope and charity in an increasingly online world.
Workshops concluded at approximately 3pm so the 5,500 young Catholic pilgrims from across Australia could begin this year’s pilgrimage walk to tonight’s closing mass at Trinity College four kilometres away from Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre where ACYF is taking place this year.
The pilgrimage walk has been a highlight for ACYF attendees in past years and this year was no exception.
At 37 degrees, this walk was no easy feat for pilgrims. And yet, along the way not a single person around me complained.
In a full-circle moment, pilgrims once again blasted music through speakers as they walked, similar to how they did on day one as they walked up to the festival for the first time.
Once they had completed the walk, pilgrims enjoyed performances from festival headliners, Joe Melendez, Fr Robert Galea and more prior to mass commencing at 6:30pm.
“Take the chance, take your courage in both hands, and open your hearts and your lives to Jesus,” Archbishop of Perth, Timothy Costello said during his homily at the closing mass.
“Don’t walk away sad from Jesus. He is our Way, he is our Truth, he is our Life.”
Archbishop Costelloe announced that the next Australian Catholic Youth Festival will be held in a rural centre when it takes place in December 2021.
“Having been to four of our five major capital cities, next time we’re going to try and host ACYF in one of our rural centres,” he said.
“All I can say is stay tuned and start preparing already and look forward to the announcement hopefully early in the new year on where the next ACYF will be held.”
Around half of Maitland-Newcastle’s pilgrims will tomorrow head home, whilst the rest will stay on for a two-day retreat at St John of God Retreat Centre in Shoalwater.
The retreat will be an opportunity for pilgrims to unwind, debrief and reconnect with their spirituality following ACYF.
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