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Youth united in faith


More than 1000 young Catholics from around Australia are getting ready to converge on Adelaide next month to take part in World Youth Day celebrations.

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To be held on January 27 at Sacred Heart College, the WYD Adelaide festival will coincide with the gathering of international WYD pilgrims aged 16 to 35 in Panama.

Tipped to be the largest diocesan youth event since the Double M Festival which recognised the canonisation of Mary MacKillop in 2010, the local festival is already attracting good ticket sales from individuals as well as group bookings from Catholic schools and parishes. Several interstate groups have also indicated they will be attending.

About 35 musical acts and speakers, workshops and panels will be featured at the festival, including ‘big name’ drawcards Jesuitical, Sacred Stone, Gospo Collective and singer Genevieve Bryant.

Internationally-acclaimed Jesuitical is a weekly podcast for young Catholics hosted by Olga Segura, Zac Davis and Ashley McKinless and produced by Eloise Blondiau in the US.

The group will make their first visit to Australia to attend WYD Adelaide and will produce their normal podcast at the festival. Typically, the program includes a breakdown on recent Catholic news, an interview with a guest and some ‘faith sharing’. Jesuitical will also be running a workshop on podcasting for youth.

Ashley told The Southern Cross they were looking forward to meeting fellow young Catholics in Australia to remind them “they are not alone in their faith”.

“I feel very lucky to work every day with lay people and priests who accompany and challenge me as a Catholic, but I know most people are living in much more secular contexts where God-talk is taboo, and that can be isolating.

“We see Jesuitical as a community and hope that WYD attendees will walk away feeling like they are a part of it,” she said.

Zac added that he hoped through the podcast young people would gain an “understanding of a Church that is alive”, while Olga is looking forward to being able to “challenge” listeners.

“We hope that the youth of Adelaide will be challenged by the Jesuitical experience. We want them to think critically about the variety of issues affecting the Church, from migration to the sexual abuse crisis to racial justice,” Olga said.

“We want them to step outside of their own experiences, and as Pope Francis constantly reminds us, meet different people where they are.

“We want them to also feel uncomfortable with their faith… it’s not easy to be vulnerable with fellow Catholics but the faith sharing we do on our show, even when it’s painful or awkward, allows us to truly grow as Christians and to find God in all things.”

Several parishes and groups in the Archdiocese will be holding their own events in the week leading up to WYD Adelaide.

Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults coordinator Peter Bierer said 10 grants of $1000 each had been distributed to parishes and communities to support their activities.

Pictured back (L-R): Mary Aquilina, Shahani Wynter, Shireen de Souza, Maisie Henderson and Grace Frick. Front: Hannah Stavrou and Mary-Anne Maio.

Street teams will volunteer their time to run the different activities throughout the WYD festival.

For further information about the festival or ticket sales, go to





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