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Antioch pilgrims on journey of a lifetime


The opportunity for 25 close friends to travel interstate and celebrate their love, lives and faith with up to 15,000 other young Catholics is a dream come true for Henley Beach Antiochers.

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The youth group is planning on attending the third bi-annual Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) in Sydney this December, an initiative of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

In what’s set to be the largest ever ACYF, secondary school students and young adults from across

the country will converge on Sydney’s Olympic Park from December 7-9 to welcome local and

International speakers and artists, including award-winning Canadian Christian musician Matt Maher.

Pilgrimage leader and long-time Antiocher Daniel Magadia told of the group’s energy in preparing for Sydney, and the impact on his own experience.

“Seeing the group’s enthusiasm for ACYF, I feel more excited of the adventure we have in store for us.”

“I may be a ‘leader’ for this pilgrimage, but my efforts can’t compare to the time and dedication many of the members have given in preparing for ACYF.”

The group, most of whom are students, has hosted multiple fundraisers within their parish and

wider communities including a hugely successful quiz night at St Michael’s College.

Louis Francesca, a 23-year-old maintenance officer at Nazareth Catholic College, is attending the

Festival for the first time and said that despite some nerves, he is “looking forward to meeting new people on their journey at ACYF”.

Having attended previous festivals in Melbourne in 2013 and Adelaide in 2015, senior group member Lia Arman reflected on the prospect of attending her final ACYF amongst more Antiochers than ever before.

“I’m joyous in knowing so many young people will have the opportunity to experience this spiritually-enriching Festival,” she said.

“The faithful and informative speakers call me back each time. Their ability to engage young people and make relevant the meaning of the Gospel, and the example of Jesus’ love they convey, is inspiring.”

“The first ever ACYF in Melbourne 2013 exceeded my expectations. I walked away feeling whole and

with a purpose to life. I will always treasure a particular moment when I truly felt the Holy Spirit for one of the first times; when my heart was filled with an indescribable amount of love and I too felt the same for our God. These brief seconds gave me purpose to continually seek God’s love and to be an instrument of this love to others.”

The three-day festival aims to provide quality formative and experiential opportunities for young Catholics from Year 9 to age 30 to deepen their relationship with Jesus, to be empowered as disciples in the world today and to encounter and celebrate the vitality of the Church in Australia.

The festival concludes on Saturday December 9 with a closing evening Mass in the Domain open to all Catholics and to which more than 30,000 people are expected to attend.

More than 200 young people from Adelaide are heading to Sydney for the festival.

For further details, visit

Mary-Anne Maio is travelling with the group to ACYF Sydney and will provide regular updates via The Southern Cross newspaper – Adelaide Facebook page.




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