With the fourth Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) around
the corner, all Melbourne Catholics are invited to a special pilgrimage and
festival this Sunday to commission the young Melburnians attending ACYF in
Perth in December.
This year the Melbourne Archdiocese is proudly sending over 1000
young pilgrims to ACYF, which will be a gathering of young people to celebrate the
joy of Christ and the Church.
As the group enters the final stages of preparation for the festival,
the journey has begun in earnest.
Before departing for Australia’s west coast, this Sunday 24
November will be the first opportunity Melbourne ACYF pilgrims will have to all
The day will consist of two parts: in the morning, pilgrims
are invited to attend their local parish for a blessing. At this local Mass, young
people will receive their official ‘pilgrim pack’ including a Melbourne ACYF T-shirt.
Parish and school groups will then don their ACYF T-shirts and hats before
making their way into the city.
At 1pm, all pilgrims and their families and fellow
parishioners are invited to gather at St Augustine’s Church in Burke Street.
Together, all Melbourne ACYF pilgrims will undertake a
pilgrimage walk from St Augustine’s Church to St Patrick’s Cathedral,
accompanied by Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli, with a short liturgy ending at
2:45pm. At St Patrick’s Cathedral, the day will conclude with a festival
featuring live music and food, and festivities will wrap up at 4pm.
For those pilgrims who are curious as to what exactly a
pilgrimage entails, Fr Dishan Candappa, Parish Priest of Good Shepherd Parish
Gladstone Park, explains: ‘It means taking a journey. Pilgrimage means you’re on
a journey of encounter; ultimately encountering our Lord, but together with
Held over two days, ACYF is expected to be the one of the largest
Catholic youth gatherings in Australia in recent years. Established by the
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC), ACYF is held every two years. Its
purpose is to provide young people with opportunities to deepen their relationship
with Jesus, and be equipped with the tools to be disciples in the world while
celebrating the Church in Australia.
The Festival is an opportunity for young people to see the
faith in action, to learn about their vocation, liturgy and prayer, Catholic
music and catechesis. And perhaps most importantly, to forge relationships with
‘I went to ACYF in 2017,’ says Joe, one of the ACYF
Melbourne pilgrims, ‘and I had an amazing experience—a life-changing experience.
And I want other young people to experience the same thing I did.’
‘My Adelaide ACYF experience was like my schoolies (week),’
says another Melbourne ACYF pilgrim, Dom. ‘And I think it’s probably the best
schoolies you could do. It was so special because we built such strong
connections during that time. To have those people and know that we were
walking the same journey and have one another to build up in faith and keep
each other accountable is such a rewarding thing.’
‘ACYF offers a glimpse into the richness of the Church through
the sacraments, plenary talks, workshops and exhibits,’ says Archbishop Peter
A. Comensoli. ‘I hope you will enjoy
spending time with your friends, peers and bishops as we celebrate the young,
vibrant Church in Australia.’
The Archdiocese of Melbourne sends its prayers with the ACYF
ACYF 2019 Prayer
Holy Spirit, Breath of
God, you come to us in the stillness and silence of this Great South Land.
Give us the courage to
open our hearts and ears, to listen to your voice as we seek to foster the
growth of your Church in Australia.
Grant us the desire to
know Jesus and say our ‘Yes’ to his invitation to spread the joy of the Gospel.
We ask for the gift of
hope as you guide us in our search for purpose and meaning in our lives.
We pray together as
young people that we may love and care for all of creation.
We make this prayer
through Jesus Christ our Lord, our brother and our companion, who lives with
You and the Father forever and ever.
Session resources are available online here.