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On January 22, World Youth Day Panama begins and joining the line-up of ministry and music is none other than priest and musician, Fr Rob Galea. Melbourne Catholic spoke to Fr Rob this week in-between his ongoing preparations.
In his fourth year of ministering, Fr Rob spoke about what made the experience most rewarding.
‘I’d say one of the most rewarding things is courage. A lot of these teenagers walk through their faith and a lot of them walk alone,’ explained Fr Rob.
‘Especially with young people who didn’t want to necessarily be there (at WYD) initially, I think that they encounter through community, through the experience of prayer and with Jesus.’
Fr Rob will be ministering at a number of events at WYD Panama which includes a Vocation Concert, and a Vigil with the Youth among others.
‘We have different events with four different purposes,’ explained Fr Rob.
‘I see the primary purpose of all of this is to encourage the global church, especially in South America, Central America; where there is a lot of Faith,’ he said.
Fr Rob sees the events as an opportunity for encouragement for all those who attend, as he knows they will arrive with a strong sense of enthusiasm and passion.
‘I think music and the message of Faith will bring about a sense of encouragement… and spending it with the community and becoming more and more generous,’ he explained.
‘Also I think giving people a prayer experience that maybe is different to other prayer experiences, like prayer through music, through listening to the word of God; sort of a concert style.’
Three of Fr Rob Galea’s songs will be featured at World Youth Day; the English version of the World Youth Day song ‘Here I Am, the Servant of the Lord’, ‘Dominoes’ and the official WYD Vocation song; ‘Aqui Estoy’ with Ivan Diaz.
‘That’s already hit the charts- not only the Christian charts but secular charts in El Salvador, Columbia and Panama,’ explained Fr Rob.
‘I’ve been receiving hundreds and hundreds of emails from people in Central America… I’ve even been getting emails from people who have surrendered their hearts to God because of this song. I’ve had this experience with a lot of my songs but in a part of the world where it’s Central and South America, it’s like wild fire,’ he said.
‘So it has a great impact on people.’
And for those who are sitting on the fence about attending the next WYD?
‘I’d say life and our relationship with God is through experiences. There’s nothing like it in the world,’ he explained.
‘I mean even going to a football match; people often talk about it. But after 10 years in Australia I went to a football match and you know…people talk about it but actually being there and experiencing the shouting, the joy and excitement… nothing can explain it,’ Fr Rob said.
‘It does impact the way you look at football for the rest of your life and it’s the same with faith. This impacts the way we experience faith, the way we experience community, the way we experience the universal church. But there’s nothing like it. It’s the global experience of WYD that is life changing.’