By Jamie O’Brien
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has last week welcomed the announcement that the next Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) will be held in Perth, in December 2019.
Archbishop Costelloe said the people of the Archdiocese will be greatly blessed by the experience of hosting the next ACYF.
“Isn’t it great to hear the excitement and enthusiasm of our young people of Perth,” Archbishop Costelloe exclaimed, upon the announcement at the closing Mass, Saturday 9 December, at The Domain, Sydney.
“We have a beautiful city and the Perth Catholic community will be keen to see all young Catholics make the pilgrimage across our Great Southern Land for the next ACYF in 2019,” he said.
“Given the pressure that was put on me to say yes to this invitation by our young people, and by our youth ministry, how could I do anything else but say yes (to Perth being host for 2019) with great enthusiasm and great excitement.
“And so, as the Archbishop of Perth and in the name of the Bishops of Western Australia, and all of the people, the clergy, the religious and the lay people of our Archdiocese and of our state, I want to invite all of you who can, to make the pilgrimage across the Nullarbor plain in two years to join us for the next Australian Catholic Youth Festival.
“You will find a warm welcome, a beautiful state, a wonderful city, a dynamic Church and an absolutely alive Youth Ministry in our diocese, so please come and join us,” he concluded.
Archbishop Costelloe was met with loud cheers of joy and clapping for his invitation from an estimated 15,000 people who gathered in Sydney’s Domain for the final Mass of the 2017 ACYF.
The outdoor Mass in the heart of Sydney was the biggest Catholic Mass held in Australia since World Youth Day in 2008.
The young people arrived at The Domain on foot, following pilgrimages from points across Sydney, including the burial place of Australia’s first Saint, Mary MacKillop at North Sydney.
The Mass was the culmination of the three-day festival of prayer, music, worship, and friendship, attended by almost 20,000 young people from across Australia and was preceded by a music concert featuring Grammy-nominated Catholic megastar Matt Maher and Australian artists.
Director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Office for Youth, Malcolm Hart, said the final Mass, shared with the people of Sydney, was a beautiful way to end a hugely successful ACYF.
“Tens of thousands of young Australians came to the ACYF with open hearts and a love for Jesus and the Church and by bringing their enthusiasm, their faith, and their witness they made the Festival the success that it has been,” he said.
In his homily, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Archbishop of Sydney and Bishops’ Delegate for Youth, told the young people that they were at the beginning, not the end, of the faith experience inspired by ACYF17.
“These three days have opened our eyes and minds and hearts to new horizons. We’ve encountered the deep joy found in Jesus Christ. And we’ve begun to discern how we can best share that joy with others,” he said.
“You’ve grown in confidence that you are not alone, that thousands like you share your faith and doubts, your fears and dreams, and that your faith is reasonable, and beautiful, and life-giving.”