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Australian Catholic Youth FestivalPosted in Ministry on Friday, 13 December, 2019

This week, a group of 21 MCC students were privileged to attended the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) at the Perth Convention Centre.

The festival has previously been hosted in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, and now for the first time in Perth. ACYF ‘…is a national gathering of Catholic young people established by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. It exists to provide young people with opportunities to deepen their relationship with Jesus, be empowered to be disciples in the world today and encounter and celebrate the vitality of the Church in Australia’. (“ACYF 2019 Perth |CYM Perth” 2019)

The students received formation through engaging talks, vibrant music and catechesis. In his opening talk, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe addressed the 6000 youth with these words, ‘as God called St Francis of Assisi many hundreds of years ago to ‘go and rebuild the Church’, I pray our young people might hear this same calling’. It is our hope that the students of MCC who attended ACYF 2019 will feel renewed in their faith and inspired to respond to this call of evangelisation in their school and parish communities.

Student reflections

The whole experience was extremely positive. It surpassed all expectations. The talks given were brilliant. We met new people and forged life-long bonds (I hope). The mass and the adoration were so reverent and they were just amazing to be at. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am very much hoping to go to ACYF 2021.

There are no words to describe the 3-day event that myself and others attended; the Australian Catholic Youth Festival of 2019 in Perth. Going on this trip, I wanted to open myself and build my relationship with God as it was becoming further and further distant as I journeyed through high school. The atmosphere, the people and the speakers during the festival were incredible and encouraged me, as a person of faith, as well as others to become closer to God. It was important for me to be open to the possibilities and opportunities that were presented during the festival, this included singing worship songs that I never knew I would shout at the top of my lungs, to creating new friendships with people from all over Australia. This experience opened my eyes in many ways, so much so, that I’m so eager to attend the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in 2021. I encourage everyone, those of faith, those who are questioning and those who are curious, to attend this festival if they want to experience something very special. Going into this trip, I had limited ideas of what it was going to be, but as the festival started, the days went so quickly as there was so much fun. I’ve come out of the festival having a better understanding of who I am as a person — and I feel like everyone else did as well. I will definitely miss the ‘God’ pits, with everyone jumping up and down to the beat of the music and shouting out the incredible words of Joe Melendrez: ‘Chosen’.

ACYF was an opportunity to grow closer to the people I went with and discuss my faith journey and experiences with them. It was such a fun filled few days, packed with energy, but also full of meaning. We were inspired to be more Godly people, and enact the teachings of Christ in our life. I left ACYF with a deeper sense of purpose and direction in my life, with meaningful friendships, and filled with a sense of hope for our world.

I can’t describe ACYF as anything other than a life changing experience even for someone like myself who isn’t Catholic. The people you get to meet and the memories you make will last a lifetime and is definitely something I’d recommend doing and look forward to experiencing again.

Coming into this event I had no expectations or knowledge on how this event would pan out. I wasn’t the strongest believer in religion until I participated in the ACYF 2019. I wouldn’t say my faith is strong but I know for a fact that it has definitely grown. I have been able to form a base relationship with God from nothing, that I hope to strengthen. Coming out of this festival, as tired as I am, I am in awe at how it all ended. The amount of new people I met as well as the experiences I dealt with, I am shocked. Something was sparked inside me during the 6 day event that I am forever grateful for, I now have a grown relationship with some people I never thought I could have that type of bond with. Even though I had my doubts earlier, they no longer remain, only gratitude for Miss McCann, Miss Lawrence, the event organisers and the 3000 youth that attended.

The Australian Catholic Youth Festival was a place that I didn’t have to feel like I had to hold back. I’ve never expressed my faith and love for God in such a bigger scale, it was very special to have done this amongst thousands of other youths that celebrates the same beliefs and values. I am very grateful to have attended this festival as it helped my relationship with God grew stronger, I feel that I have more of a clearer sense about my religion and the person that I follow and worship – Jesus. To sum up the experience, the energy that radiated from each person in the festival were vibrant and powerful, this was evident during the Plenary Councils where multiple activities and worships through songs, the Plenaries both morning and at nights were my favourite events. However, each talk, events, masses, activities and workshops had their own unique experience that resonated with me. Thank you so very much to both Ms McCann and Ms Lawrence for looking after us and treating us with maturity. Thank you!

“ACYF was a life-changing experience. Before having gone to the festival I was nervous as I did not know what I was going to expect. But now looking back I am so glad I went and would not change a thing. I made so many new friends from around Australia and became so much closer to the friends I already had. We formed strong bonds and long-lasting friendships. ACYF brought me closer to religion and God and allowed me to view everything in my life from a new perspective. I am so grateful to have been apart of the coming together of around 6000 young Australians. I have no words to describe what ACYF was like as it changed my life.”

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