More than 130 senior students from Catholic schools around the State got the celebrations underway with a tree planting activity on Friday morning.
Organised by the Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults (COYYA), the event saw students planting about 1500 trees in the wetlands at Victoria Park. A special part of the morning was a Welcome to Country by Cliffy Wilson from Kuma Kaaru Cultural Services, who also spoke about the importance of the land and provided some history of the parklands.
On Saturday, Sacred Heart College at Somerton Park was abuzz as about 400 young people took part in a day of activities.
“The main workshop presented by Gianna Lucas was certainly a highlight of the day as everyone was involved in working together in this,” said COYYA coordinator, Julian Nguyen.
“Another highlight was the special WYD liturgy where we were joined by Archbishop Patrick O’Regan.”
Julian said the live background dinner music evolved into a full-blown sing-along session” with many young people turning the WYD Plaza area into a dance floor.
“The concert with Gus & Iggy in the evening finished the day off beautifully and there was a great moment of prayer right at the end of the concert where young people belted out 10,000 Reasons and Holy is the Lamb (a Gus & Iggy original),” he added.
The focus on youth continued on Sunday as parishes and communities recognised WYD at the local level, with young people participating in the Mass and after-Mass celebrations.
In Lisbon, an estimated 1.5 million pilgrims attended the closing Mass of WYD on Sunday, which was celebrated by Pope Francis and 30 cardinals, 700 bishops and 10,000 priests concelebrating.
In his homily, Pope Francis told the hushed crowd, “Don’t be afraid”.
“You have great dreams, but often fear that they may not come true; sometimes you think that you are not up to the challenge, which is a kind of pessimism that can overcome us at times,” he said.
“As young people, you may be tempted at this time to lose heart, to think you fall short, or to disguise your pain with a smile. As young people, you want to change the world – and it is very good that you want to change the world – you want to work for justice and peace.
“You devote all your life’s energy and creativity to this, but it still seems insufficient. Yet, the Church and the world need you, the young, as much as the earth needs rain. To all of you, dear young people, who are the present and the future, yes to all of you, Jesus now says: ‘have no fear’, ‘do not be afraid!’.”
At the conclusion of the Mass, Pope Francis announced that the next World Youth Day will be held in Seoul, South Korea, in 2027.
Jump to next article