The Australian Catholic Youth Festival will turn on a program of epic proportions today for the tens of thousands of young people who’ve come together from throughout the country and who are now making their way to Sydney Olympic Park.
The action-packed day will kick off in Qudos Arena with first plenary session, where the nearly 20,000 young people will be welcomed by the Archbishop of the host city and the Australian Bishops’ delegate for youth, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP.
Booming Lebanese drums, provided by Sydney’s flourishing Maronite Catholic community, will give way to the event’s first international headliner, Canadian singer-songwriter Matt Maher, whose thoughtful praise music has seen him filling stadiums throughout North America.
(2015 X Factor contestant and priest-performer extraordinaire Fr Rob Galea and band will have already warmed up the crowd in the pre-plenary entertainment.)
Sr Hilda Scott OSB, who television audiences fell in love with earlier this decade in ABC docudrama The Abbey, will be joined on stage by three young people giving “Testimonies of Joy”, before an impassioned youth-led drama rounds out the session.
Then the young festival goers will embark on a panoply of different workshops, interactive activities and live music experiences.
Organisers have maintained a healthy level of intrigue, but the session titles – provided by some of the best Australian and overseas presenters and artists that the Church has to offer – give a good idea as to content.
The more than 100 activities include: Building Lego Like a Boss; Smart Success: Impact with Integrity; The Light of Faith in the Light of Terror; Gaming, Masculinity and Faith; Influencing the World, One Macaron at a Time; and performances from US and Australians musical powerhouses, including Steve Angrisano, Emily Wilson and Genevieve Bryant.
All festival goers will come together as one again for the evening plenary, where US singer-songwriter Steve Angrisano will no doubt have them on their feet and shaking down the walls with their singing.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Britain will deliver an evening message on the festival’s theme, “Building New Horizons for Spreading Joy,” before Sr Hilda again takes the stage to ask young people about times in their lives when joy has been difficult to come by.
The night will conclude with Lectio Divina, led by Sr Hilda, before kicking into a high octane gear as Matt Maher performs his second set of the day.