Thousands of Sydneysiders closed out the Year of Youth with a spectacular night of colour and song at St Mary’s Cathedral last night.
Popular singer-songwriter Gary Pinto rocked the cathedral forecourt with a winning blend of pop songs and Christmas carols which became abuzz with excited families and young people.
The event, titled Beyond Horizons, kicked off with Mass in the cathedral celebrated by Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers and ended after nightfall with the launch of the ninth annual Lights of Christmas display.
Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher OP launched the Lights of Christmas with the Premier of NSW Gladys Berejiklian.
Also present was the Red Wiggle Simon Pyrce who wrote and narrated the animated story segment of the Lights display.
“The Lights of Christmas hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and produced by AGB events has become a much-loved part of the way Sydney celebrates Christmas together and a must-see for many of our families,” the Archbishop said.
Earlier at the Mass inside the cathedral, Bishop Umbers used his homily to the assembled youth to be instruments of God.
“God wants us to be involved in his work. He wants to reach people and he counts on us, he doesn’t need us, but he wants to count on us,” he said.
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“We are here for one reason, through the grace of God to share in the intimate life of the Blessed Trinity, he said.
“That’s why we are here and that’s what we bring to other people; God’s grace which we find in the Church, through the sacraments.”
The bishop encouraged them to grow in relationship with Jesus Christ and be active witnesses to Him.
“When you start out doing that you might a little bit worried that you will do a lousy job. I can assure you that will do a lousy job, but it does not matter.
“You learn, and with time, with grace, you grow better.”
At the end of the Mass the bishop gave a special blessing to the young missionaries from The Culture Project and the Youth Mission Team who work in partnership with archdiocesan agency Sydney Catholic Youth in parishes, schools, and communities across the city.
Nora Moya, 16, came to the Mass with a group from her school and parish of St Ursula’s at Kingsgrove who then sang and danced their way through the concert and watched the three-segment light show at 8.30pm.
“We spent three days at the ACYF [Australian Catholic Youth Festival] last year and it was amazing,” she said.
“At events like this you see how many like minded other young people there are.”
Her friend Jorja Sargent, 16, agreed.
“It’s not like we can sit around in the playground at school talking about Jesus, but when you come here you can see that people’s faith is really important to them,” she said.