It wasn’t long after I began in the Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults that the decision had been made to not organize a diocesan pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Panama in January 2019. Instead, we determined this would be a great opportunity to reinvest the World Youth Day (WYD) resources locally into a celebration of WYD that more young people in the Archdiocese of Adelaide would be able to participate in. We also realized early on that this celebration needed to be something different.
Today in Australia there are many opportunities for young people to gather for Catholic festivals, conferences and retreats such as the Australian Catholic Youth Festival. We did not want to replicate these events. We also realized that there has not been a local diocesan youth gathering since the canonization of Mary MacKillop in 2010. World Youth Day is an opportunity to do something new.
We have designed a celebration for young people, Catholic and otherwise, that will be joyful, reflective, formational, and fun. We have a variety of different kinds of presenters, some well known, others who may be less know bu who have a unique and important story to share. The musical acts range from nationally recognized acts to local church groups. Our workshops and speaker panels were chosen to represent and address some of the key issues and concerns facing young people in the Archdiocese today.
We designed the festival day to suit not only young people ages 16-35 who are actively part of the Catholic Church, but for all young people. We have also intentionally built themes of leadership for students, teachers and young adults into the program.
Leading up to the World Youth Day festival, we are inviting local parishes, communities, regions or deaneries to hold their own youth celebration or activities. COYYA is offering 10 $1000 grants to support these WYD initiatives.
COYYA will also be hosting a few events in the lead up to the festival including a special speaker event and young adult pilgrimage. More information regarding these events will be released soon.
At a time of uncertainty in the local and global Church, young people are a source of hope and joy and World Youth Day is a chance for the Church in Adelaide to tap into that hope and joy.
Tickets and information regarding World Youth Day and the adjacent events can be found on the COYYA website: www.cathyouthadelaide.org.au/wyd