The Australian Catholic Youth Festival kicked-off in Perth today with more than 5000 young people attending the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.
An avid AFL fan, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB signalled the start of the three-day event by handballing a football to the crowd, a symbolic gesture inviting the young Catholics to make the event their own.
“Let’s go out and together, let’s kick as many goals for Jesus and for the Church as we possibly can,” he said.
Earlier the Archbishop drew comparisons between St Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis.
“St Francis of Assisi made more noise with what he did, rather than what he said . . . Pope Francis is the same.”
“Don’t be afraid to make some noise.”
The opening plenary session did just that, beginning with a flash mob dance routine before US Christian rapper Joe Melendrez raised the roof with his hit song CHOSEN, inviting lucky members of the crowd on stage to dance.
The Voice contestant and crowd favourite Fr Rob Galea performed a beautiful rendition of the 2019 festival song ‘Listen to The Spirit’.
He later said music has the power to transcend generations and connect with young people.
With more than 59,000 Facebook followers, Fr Galea said it was important to be authentic on social media because it was a great way to reach people.
“It’s our responsibility on social media to give the whole view,” Fr Galea said.
“It’s the ordinary that makes us extraordinary.”
The dynamic opening session set the tone for the rest of the festival which today featured humorous Catholic storyteller Katie Prejean McGrady and a session with Tweeting with God author, Fr Michael Remery tackling the question, is there social media in heaven?
Tomorrow’s highlights include Walk Free co-founder Grace Forrest who will address Conscious consumerism and how consumers can demand change, and a workshop with CEWA Executive Director Dr Debra Sayce: Our Call to Holiness: being, becoming and belonging.