An immense sense of excitement and Spirit was felt in the
air this Sunday morning as the festival kicked off with the Opening Plenary.
Addressing youth from across the country at centre stage
Archbishop of Perth Tim Costello told the story of St Francis of Assisi’s
early life as an analogy for where many members of today’s Catholic Church feel
they are at.
'These next few days gives ourselves a chance to tune into
another wavelength that we too might hear a mysterious and persistent voice
calling to us a chance and the challenge not to sink into a life of frivolous
distraction,’ he said.
‘Today’s world demands that you be the protagonist of history.
The Lord wants to turn your hearts and hands into signs of reconciliation of
communion and of creation.’
In his speech, Archbishop Tim acknowledged the upheaval
experienced in the Catholic Church and continued quoting Pope Francis.
‘Go and rebuild my church. Some in the church have lost
their way, their heart and their hope,’ he said.
‘Let’s kick as many goals as we can for Jesus!’
Expressed by one of the students from Caroline Chisolm
College, Madaesya said that they ‘had more at a sense of belonging, community
and we felt more spiritually connected.’
Similarly, other highlights include the Welcome to Country,
creating a sense of ‘connectivity’ that Archbishop Tim also spoke about.
Eva from the Melbourne Collective Group was impressed by the
performers' heartfelt expression.
‘And I really loved them dancing where they held their
candles to the cross. I just felt that it was very touching.’
And for what has been considered as a vital connection to
worship, the music for the morning provided by Fr Rob Galea and his talented
band appealed to all the youths in the plenary space as the crowd danced and
sang along with his tunes.
‘I’m a big lover of music,’ said Anthony from Mazenod
‘The lyrics in the songs Fr Rob sang had really powerful
words and with thousands singing along there was an immense sense of the
presence of God.’
Katie from Nazareth College had similar sentiments.
‘I really enjoyed the music. I feel like it makes people
anticipate more,’ she said.
Following the Plenary opening, many mingled and explored
across a variety of stalls at the expo complete with a busy jumping castle and
representatives from Catholic organisations such as Jesus Youth Australia, St
Vincent De Paul and Caritas and music acts including Melbourne musicians Gen
Bryant and The Saga.
Melbourne made their presence known at ‘Melbourne Central’
where Melbournians are invited to add their own personal prayer to the stain glass
window themed prayer wall.
There was also another interesting aspect to the Melbourne
Jordan from CRC College in Sydenham was one of many who went
along today to be among the first to respond to parishes about their ACYF
‘Just because they're obviously supporting us so we’re giving
them feedback on how we’re going.’
The day continued with a selection of workshops held across the centre including a strong Gen Bryant's Mega Workshop, bringing a strong Melbourne presence to the day with her popular tunes.
Follow the journey online via the official Melbourne ACYF Facebook page (@Melbourne ACYF) and on Instagram (@melbacyf)