Catholic youth festival attracts thousands

The Australian Catholic Youth Festival welcomed thousands of participants to Sydney
for a three-day event consisting of concerts, workshops and prayer.

11 December 2017

Thousands of young people from around the country and the world joined together for the 2017 Australian Catholic Youth Festival from December 7-9, the largest gathering of Catholics since World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney.

Notre Dame University Australia was an official sponsor of the three-day festival which attracted more than 15,000 pilgrims -- ranging in age from 15 to 30, to share their views about life and their faith.

The festival, featuring presenters from Notre Dame who spoke on a wide range of topics including social justice, masculinity and femininity, culminated in a pilgrimage and a Mass at The Domain after three days of workshops, Mass and worship, entertainment and live music at three different venues around the city.

Keynote speaker, Professor Renee Kohler-Ryan, Dean of School of Philosophy & Theology at Notre Dame, said the event provided a tremendous opportunity to hear from young people.

“The youth of today are tomorrow’s future; our Catholic youth are the future of the Church.

“Our bishops endorse this event so that young people can learn more about their faith, to see that it is something life-giving and good, and develop friendships with others who share an understanding of what it is to believer,” said Professor Kohler-Ryan.

Established in by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and hosted in partnership with the Archdiocese of Sydney, the festival provides an opportunity for young Catholics to gather together, explore and deepen their faith.

Annetta Kassis, third year Philosophy and Theology student and an Ambassador for Notre Dame, said the festival provided a space to connect with others over a shared love of the Catholic faith.

“It was awesome to meet people from all different paths of life and to join together as a unified body of believers,” Annetta said.

Adrian Vincent, third year Law and Philosophy student at Notre Dame, who also attended the event, said it was brilliant to be surrounded by like-minded people. “It was great to engage with people who are so inquisitive and curious about their faith and who just want to grow and develop and build relationships,” he said.

Christian Stephens, Associate Lecturer in Theology at Notre Dame, said it was very encouraging to see so many young people connecting over their shared religion.

“There is no doubt that when this many young people gather around the Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, and they are looking to know and love God more, amazing things happen.

“People from all ages, but especially young people, can have very limited views of the kinds of people that are faithful Catholics. Weekends like this blow that out of the water,” said Stephens.

Media Contact – Antonia Maiolo +61 2 8304 4141 | 0431 856 077 |