This December (in fact next week!) many of our WYD pilgrims will lead groups of young people from across our Diocese to the first ever Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Melbourne. This will be the first event of its kind in Australia. Young people from parishes, schools, groups, communities, movements and dioceses right across the country coming together as one church. With so many charisms and expressions of faith and love in our Church – it is so exciting that ALL of these will celebrate together – the young heart of our Church.
Our diocese is the second youngest in Australia with an average age amongst Catholics of 30 years of age. So it goes without saying that there would be a lot of interest in an event like this. Being in Melbourne however, and so far from home, it was always going to be a challenge to organise groups of young people to be able to participate. Although the event cost was tiered to support those from remote dioceses, travel and acommodation costs have meant that our young people will be paying anywhere from $700 to $1,500 to participate in the Festival in Melbourne!
A huge positive for us has been the Festival following so closely to this year’s WYD. Energised by this experience, many of our young adult WYD pilgrims have organised groups from their schools or youth groups to attend. They have done it with the support of others in their communities – fellow youth leaders or teachers.
David Graham has organised a group from MacKillop Catholic College, Lauren Hill has organised a group from the Activ8 youth group, Br Chris Kerwick mgl has organised a group from St John’s College, Melissa Anderson has organised a group from Xavier Catholic College Wurrumiyanga (Bathurst Island), Robyn Craig has supported the group from St Francis Xavier School in Nauiyu (Daly River).
Other groups from the diocese include a large group from the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish in Wadeye, also taking with them young people from Nganmarriyanga. Then there is a group from the St Martin de Porres Catholic Aboriginal Community in Darwin, a couple from the St Vincent de Paul Society and finally a large group of Year 12’s from O’Loughlin Catholic College.
It has been a fantastic effort from across the diocese and we are thrilled that so many communities have supported their young people in being able to even consider going to an event like this! With so many wonderful speakers, musicians, young Catholic leaders in one place in Melbourne – it is going to be nothing short of incredible exposure for our young people. You can view the full Festival program which they will be enjoying here… http://www.youthfestival.catholic.org.au/index.php/program
Bishop Eugene Hurley and Benita De Vincentiis (Diocesan Director Youth Ministry) will be joining the groups in Melbourne, and will join together with all of the groups on the Sunday following the event for an NT Gathering. It will be an opportunity for the groups to gather, to share their experiences and for us all together to consider… where to from here?
Please keep the groups in your prayers as they head to Melbourne for this incredible sharing of faith, life, hope and joy in the Lord! May the spirit of the Lord be upon them. God bless.