Being held from December 7-9, the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) is expected to attract up to 15,000 attendees from around the nation, providing them the opportunity 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’.
The festival will also herald the start of the Year of Youth, which recognises 10 years since Australia hosted World Youth Day 2008.
Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults coordinator Peter Bierer said there were currently about 175 local youth signed up for the festival, but he is expecting this number will increase to about 200. He said young people were registering for the event through their parishes, schools and youth movements.
With the festival being held during the school term, only a small number of those attending – about 30 – will be high school students.
Most groups signed up were currently undertaking “significant fundraising” in order to cover registration, travel, accommodation and food expenses.
Mr Bierer said the festival was gearing up to be an “incredible event” for Australian Catholic youth.
“After the last ACYF in Adelaide in 2015, there has been a lot of buzz about the 2017 festival. Young people who attended locally have told their friends about the experience, and so the energy and interest is high.
“Unfortunately, the cost and travel involved in this festival have limited the numbers of those able to participate,” he said.
Some of the highlights of the Sydney festival are expected to be performances by Canadian songwriter and worship leader Mark Maher; speaker, author and musician Emily Wilson from California; and ACYF favourite Steve Angrisano.
A number of bishops from around Australia will present different workshops, be a part of a variety of listening forums and participate in activities with young people.
Festival-goers will also have the opportunity to take part in a pilgrimage from a holy site – such as the burial place of St Mary MacKillop, and St Mary’s Cathedral – to the Domain for the closing Mass on the Saturday night.
Mr Bierer said the festival was a wonderful opportunity for youth of Adelaide to share their faith with other young people and be inspired by the many performers and workshops on offer.
“We are really excited about supporting those young people from the Archdiocese who are able to attend the festival and we hope to be able to keep the flame alive when we return to kick off the Year of Youth in Adelaide.”
Peter and his wife Lauren will be able to see the festival from the other side of the stage, as they will be performing music under their band name, Secret Hill.
For more information about the ACYF, go to www.youthfestival.catholic.org.au
Jump to next article