The official song for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival has been unleashed upon the world, and its composer couldn’t be happier with the result.
Joyful Generation was written by Southern Highlands (NSW) school teacher Tim Hart, and was the winning entry in a competition to capture the ACYF theme, “Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy”.
The singer-songwriter, music minister, husband and father says his principal inspiration was a particularly moving experience he had in Krakow at World Youth Day 2016 on the night of the WYD Vigil.
“I had to move back to the designated area for my group a few hundred meters away,” Tim recounts.
“As I came over the crest of a hill I was awestruck by a sea of light.
“Three million or so pilgrims each had a candle glowing in the darkness which was a blessed joyful sight to see.”
Upon returning to Australia, he wanted to capture the experience while it was still fresh in his heart.
“I asked myself, what makes us joyful people? The lyrics explore this idea in connection with the risen Christ who is merciful and whose salvation lifts our spirits and gives us reason to be joyful people …
“Like the candlelight at the Easter Vigil Mass, we can spread joy and hope to light up the darkness in our lives especially for those around us.”
The style of Joyful Generation is upbeat and contemporary.
Tim says that as a teenager he was inspired by the contemporary music all around him – from ACDC and the Rolling Stones to ABBA and John Denver.
He says that music ministry and becoming a teacher at a Catholic primary school “had a huge impact on the direction of my life”, and that he believes ACYF will inspire similar discoveries in the thousands of young people who will attend.
“My gift of music truly found expression serving the faith community and the community did so much towards nourishing my faith”.
ACYF will feature music, workshops, forums and worship at Sydney’s Olympic Park from December 7-9, boasting a stellar line-up of international and home-grown presenters and performers.
The Festival will conclude with Mass in The Domain at 6.30pm on Saturday, December 9 – Sydney’s largest Catholic Mass since World Youth Day in 2008.
With Festival numbers nearing capacity, organisers are still accepting registrations for people aged 18 and over.
Registration and more information on Joyful Generation can be accessed at www.acyf.org.au