The good news about ACYF


Last week, over 3,500 young people from around Australia gathered in Adelaide to experience the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF). The event, put on by the Australian Catholic Bishops is a vibrant and lively celebration of faith in the Australian Church. Among the participants were 20 from the Canberra-Goulburn region, who travelled together under the leadership of the Archdiocesan youth team. These students, who come from a variety of schools and backgrounds including Daramalan, St Clare’s and Marist, share their experiences below.

17-year-old St Clare’s student Brigid Cooney says about the Festival, “It was amazing. Not just the structured talks by amazing speakers like Jason Evert and Bishop Eugene Hurley, but the environment and atmosphere of the festival. One of my favourite moments was sitting and talking to our Chaplin Father Paul and asking the questions we really want to ask.”

Sharnay Ormazabal, also 17 shares, “I would have to say that my two favourite moments would have to be Adoration on the Friday night and the Mass on the Saturday night. Being able to connect closer to God and feel the love and peace of His Holy Spirit in these two parts of the festival was definitely an experience I will never forget. I definitely encourage anyone thinking of going to definitely take this step as it is a life changing experience and no matter what you are looking for I can guarantee that in one way or another you will find it at this festival.”

Manuka Krolikowski, 16, shares about her most powerful moment. “My most powerful moments of this festival were hearing inspiring talks, Adoration and the closing mass. It truly helped me deepen my relationship with Jesus and my knowing that God is in everything and everyone. For anyone interested, I highly recommend this festival. It truly inspired me and helped me apply the gospel to my life.”

Ellen Newton, 17, tells of her appreciation for the priests and says, “I loved the talks given by Steve Angrisano to remind us all about the importance of evangelising and giving thanks for all people regardless of there position or their job. I also enjoyed the opportunity to talks to the priests about their vocation and what it means to be part of the church. I highly recommend this to all who are trying to find their place or wish to deepen their faith.”

Jakob, 17, tells about his life changing experience at ACYF. “The festival was completely great. It was a big eye opener to all the things that I needed to change in my life. The talks from Jason Evert really showed the things that us guys need to do to really ‘be a man’ and it helped me to get in the right mindset to go forth in the future. Steve Angrisano brought out the musical soul inside me and everything that he told me really resonated with what was happening in my life and again, showed me what I need to do to go on with from after the festival. The festival altogether has changed my life and I will be forever changed from this moment on.”

An anonymous pilgrim was grateful to the generous leaders of the group. “I liked meeting new people and all the talks. Especially Jason Evert’s story about how he met his wife. Thanks Ellen, Josh, Cheryl and Father Paul.”  – Anonymous 2015

St Clare’s year 11 student Chiara Catanzariti had an extremely positive experience. “The Australian Catholic Youth Festival has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life. It was amazing to see over 3,000 young Australians united as one voice. The most powerful part of the festival was when everyone prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet; you could truly feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. I would encourage anyone to come to Sydney in 2017 and experience the fellowship of young Australians and learn more about the Catholic Church and the love of Jesus.”

Dyllan Ormazabal “ACYF is a place were youth around Australia are able to question their faith and in the process, able to strengthen it as well. The conference contained many inspirational speakers, which helped us also strengthen our faith as they had the answers to every question asked. The highlight of the past few days was being able to meet a bunch of people. Not only the speakers but youth who were in the same spiritual bind as me and in the end were able just like me to make sense of the questions. I am now more spiritually connected because of the journey I took to ACYF 2015!!”

If you or someone you know missed out on attending ACYF 2015, the next festival is to be hosted by Sydney in 2017. During the final celebrations, Archbishop Anthony Fisher, as chair of the Bishops Commission for Youth, announced the 2017 ACYF to launch a National Year of Youth. This also marks 10 years since WYD 2008.

Fr Chris Ryan, MGL, said on Facebook about the upcoming celebrations, “I’m really excited about this initiative. A Year of Youth to mark the tenth anniversary of World Youth Day 08. A chance for the Church to launch new ways of accompanying young people as they journey with Christ.”

We warmly welcome any young person to join the next ACYF pilgrimage to Sydney in 2017.