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First Australian Catholic Youth Festival announced


Australian Catholic Youth Festival News Story
Gathering of Australian Pilgrims at World Youth Day 2011 Madrid.

The first Australian Catholic Youth Festival will be hosted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in December 2013.

To be held in the Archdiocese of Melbourne from Thursday 5 December to Saturday 7 December 2013, the Festival expects to draw 4,000 young Catholics from Year 9 students to those 25 years of age.

The Festival will be the largest national gathering of Catholic young people since World Youth Day 2008 Sydney and will be held five years after Pope Benedict XVI visited Australia for the event.

Bishop of Parramatta and the Australian Bishops Delegate for Youth, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, said the concept of a national youth event has been discussed for many years.

“It will be an exciting and vibrant gathering of young people full of music, talks, prayer and exhibitions,” Bishop Anthony said.

“The Festival will provide young people with an opportunity to encounter Christ through the Catholic Church in Australia, and provide Bishops and Church leaders an opportunity to listen to and engage with young people on the issues and concerns in their lives.”

Energy and enthusiasm

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart, the President of the Australian Catholic Bishop Conference and the Archbishop hosting the Festival, is very excited that the Catholic youth of Australia will undertake the pilgrimage to Melbourne for the inaugural national youth event.

“I welcome all young people who will come to Melbourne for the Festival,” Archbishop Hart said.

“I hope they can make a pilgrimage to the wonderful St Patrick’s Cathedral and to the birthplace of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop nearby. I look forward to meeting and talking with them.”

The main venue for the gathering will be Australian Catholic University’s St Patrick’s Campus.

The campus consists of two large outdoor spaces and two six-storey buildings which will accommodate activities such as workshops, interactive activities, expo and live music. The campus is a short walk from St Patrick’s Cathedral which is also expected to host activities within its precinct.

Elise Ganley, National Coordinator of the Young Christian Students movement, is one of the young people appointed to a National Steering Committee to develop and prepare for the Festival.

“The Festival presents an opportunity to harness the energy and enthusiasm of young people to participate in the life and mission of the Church, and in turn be catalysts of change in their schools, parishes and wider communities,” Elise said.

Over the coming months the National Steering Committee will call for nominations for musicians, workshops, presenters and exhibition holders to be a part of the Festival. It will also seek submissions to identify a theme song for the Festival.

The Australian Catholic Youth Festival will have its official launch at the upcoming Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention in Campbelltown (21-23 September).

The anticipated program elements, additional venues and theme for the festival will be announced at a special dinner on Friday 21 September.

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