With music, panel discussions, fun activities, food vans and stalls promoting the good works of the Church creating a colourful backdrop to the festival, Adelaide Archdiocese youth coordinator Peter Bierer said it was the “joy that was there during the day” that impressed him the most.
Mr Bierer said there was a “really diverse” group of young people present, in terms of ethnicity, religious practice and Catholicism but all were focused on a “great sense of growing together and an overwhelming sense of community”.
“I was proud that we put on a Catholic youth event that looked different to others, one that built on relationships and community and how young people can serve the world to live out the mission to be followers of Jesus in the world.”
He said the topics for speakers’ panels, which included social justice, the environment and being ‘protagonists of change’, were what young people had told the Office for Youth and Young Adults they were interested in as part of a survey conducted for the Year of Youth.
“The speakers’ panel room was packed every time; I was really excited to see that.”
A large art mural focused on the Plenary Council theme of ‘what God is asking of the Church in Australia today’ was filled in by youth throughout the day and word bubbles were completely full of diverse comments, in different languages. The mural will become an official submission to the Plenary Council as well as a reflection piece for youth gatherings in the Archdiocese.
Older parishioners joined youth for the outdoor Mass led by Administrator Delegate Fr Philip Marshall and concelebrated by a number of clergy from Adelaide and Port Pirie dioceses.
While the festival marked the end of the Year of Youth for the Archdiocese, Mr Bierer said the long-term goal of listening to young people would continue and he urged schools, parishes and communities to involve youth at every level, even financial matters.
“Young people need to be involved in the very essence of the life of Church…young people are not just recipients, they are creators and leaders who give voice and energy and passion to the Church and mission of God’s people to change the world,” he said at the end of the Mass.
“You are a gift, a gift we need to unwrap, to use and place at the centre of our lives.”
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