The theme of the inaugural Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF), The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, was brought to life as more than 3000 young people from around Australia gathered for the opening plenary at Festival Hall in Melbourne on Friday afternoon.
- The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
The event kicked off the three-day celebration of what it means to be young and Catholic. It is the largest national gathering of Catholic young people since Sydney’s World Youth Day in 2008.
Darwin’s Bishop Eugene Hurley welcomed participating youth, priests and bishops to the festival, before Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Apostolic Nuncio in Australia, greeted the young people on behalf of Pope Francis.
The ACYF Animators Dance troupe had the crowd up on their feet learning the first sequence of a specially choreographed dance. The crowd danced in the aisles to the jubilant strains of Imagine Dragons' 'On top of the world'.
The two-hour plenary then entered a time of prayer and reflection, beginning with the procession of the ACYF symbols, which remained on the main stage until the ACYF came to a close on Saturday night.
The Gospel passage containing the festival’s theme was then read, followed by James Edwards performing the ACYF theme song Your Spirit, which he composed for the festival.
Newly installed Archbishop of Canberra Goulburn, Archbishop Christopher Prowse gave a shout out to youth from each state, as well as Australia’s indigenous participants.