Australian Catholic Youth Festival Wraps Up in Adelaide, Next Stop Sydney!

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
8 Dec 2015

Group of Sydney pilgrims following the announcement

The 2015 Australian Catholic Youth Festival came to a close in Adelaide on Saturday 5th December with the announcement that the next Youth Festival will be held in Sydney in 2017. This announcement was made at the end of the Closing Mass which was celebrated by the Chair of the Bishops Commission for Family, Youth and Life, the Archbishop of Sydney Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP.
The 2017 Australian Catholic Youth Festival will launch a 'Year of Youth', which will take place Australia-wide from Advent 2017 until Advent 2018, marking the ten year anniversary of World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney.

"This Year of Youth will be dedicated to reflecting on how young people can and do contribute to the life of Church and society, and how the Church can best be there for them," Archbishop Anthony said to the 3,500+ crowd gathered at the Adelaide Convention Centre for the Closing Mass.

"The very exciting Year of Youth will be launched by our next national youth festival, to be held 7-9 December 2017. I am pleased to announce that the next Australian Catholic Youth Festival will be held in… Sydney, Australia," the Archbishop continued amidst a giant cheer from the Sydney pilgrims, as well as the pilgrims from the Dioceses of Parramatta, Broken Bay and Wollongong, who will be partnering with the Archdiocese of Sydney to host the 2017 event.

Archbishop Fisher OP tells the thousands of pilgrims the next ACYF will be in Sydney in 2017

The 2015 Australian Catholic Youth Festival was a huge success, with over 3,500 pilgrims filling the plenary sessions, workshop halls, expo areas and live music stages over three days of catechesis, music, praise and worship.

The Festival included five main plenary sessions featuring international speakers Jason Evert and Steve Angrisano, testimonies from Australian youth, praise and worship music by Australian performers, including Fr Rob Galea, Stephen Kirk, Stephanie Unger, Genevieve Bryant, Gary & Natasha Pinto, and the Emmanuel Worship Band, as well as a host of Australian religious, clergy and bishops. The Festival pilgrims were even treated to a rendition of "Your the Voice" featuring Wilcannia-Forbes' Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green playing the bagpipes, as well as a dramatic entry from Brisbane's Vocations Director Fr Morgan Batt, who abseiled into the Plenary hall from the ceiling. 
Workshop presenters included the very popular Sr Hilda Scott OSB from the Benedictine Abbey, the author of "Walk 4 One" Sam Clear, the rapping priest Fr Chris Eaton MGL, 'Real Talk' speakers Paul Ninnes and Kym Keady, Rector of the MGL seminary Fr Chris Ryan, Kate Freeman from the Youth Mission Team in Wollongong, the Sisters of Life who are visiting Australia from New York, as well as Archbishops Anthony Fisher OP, Tim Costelloe SDB, Mark Coleridge, and Bishops Peter Comensoli, Eugene Hurley, Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE, Paul Bird, Justin Bianchini, and more!

International guest Jason Evert was by far one of the most popular speakers, with thousands of young people flocking to his workshops, during which he engaged those attending on the topic of chastity, as well as on Festival theme "blessed are the pure in heart."

A cool selfie - between friends

The Archdiocese of Sydney's social networking site also presented a workshop at this year's Festival on the topic "Being a witness on social media". Over the three days, Xt3 recorded the audio from almost 100 workshops and conversations, which will be made available on the website over coming days. In addition, Xt3 live streamed the five plenary sessions, which are now available to watch in full on-demand on Xt3's YouTube Channel ( The Xt3 team also interviewed almost 30 of the guest speakers during the Festival in order to create a series of video resources that can be used in youth ministry nationally in coming years. Look out for the publication of these resources in coming weeks and months!

The INcounter expo area was another popular site for Festival pilgrims, with constant on-stage interviews and live music adding to the atmosphere as pilgrims visited a variety of interactive stalls hosted by Cosmos (the official World Youth Day tour operator), Aid to the Church in Need, St Vincent de Paul, Catholic Earthcare, several vocations centres, Real Talk Australia, Ignite Youth, as well as a number of religious orders, and of course The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference also hosted a stall which invited pilgrims to meet and greet a number of the Bishops in attendance, challenging the youth to take the compulsory selfie with as many Bishops as they could manage.

At the close of the Festival, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP told the young pilgrims that their energy and enthusiasm for the faith was inspiring.

Over 3,500 pilgrims from our Australia attended the Youth Festival

"During these past few days in Adelaide you have demonstrated that you aspire to more than the shallow versions of fulfilment too often offered in our surrounding culture. By God's grace and with the support of family, friends and Church you can do great things," the Archbishop said in his final Homily.

The youth of Australia will now turn their sites towards World Youth Day in Krakow in 2016, and then onto Sydney, the host of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival 2017.

"I invite every one of you, with your peers, to join me at the tomb of our first saint, Mary of the Cross Mackillop, at the mother church of Australia, St Mary's Cathedral, and amongst the people of the Archdiocese of Sydney and surrounding metropolitan dioceses, who will welcome you with open arms," the Archbishop concluded in his remarks after the Final Mass.

"Thank you again, young faithful of Australia. See you at my place in Sydney in 2017!"