Setting young hearts alight with faith

Twelve Tasmanian youth travelled to Sydney for the annual Ignite Conference from 29 September to 1 October. The four-day conference was held back-to-back in both Brisbane and Sydney, with close to 2000 young people attending over the two conferences.

Director of the Office of Youth Evangelisation, Sam Clear, attended the conference and said the event had become “synonymous with engaging youth at a deep faith level” and had propelled many young people to begin attending Mass or to start “their journey to becoming Catholic”.

“The Ignite Conference is the perfect space for youth and young adults to encounter Jesus and a very alive church,” Mr Clear said.

“The conference is regularly being attributed as a catalyst for conversions, and even the taking up of vocations.”

The 2023 Sydney Ignite Conference was held at St Leo’s College in northern Sydney, part of the Broken Bay Diocese. Youth attended from Tasmania, Traralgon, Melbourne, Wagga Wagga, Canberra, Wollongong, Sydney, Tamworth, Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Brisbane and as far north as Cairns.

The conference included daily Mass, the opportunity to attend the sacrament of Confession, workshops, high-impact rallies with worship music and talks from clergy, religious and lay people, and Eucharistic Adoration.

Simon MacFarlane, one of the Tasmanian young people in attendance, said the event was an “uplifting celebration” of the Catholic faith.

“The workshops were informative, inspiring and fun and I learnt a lot,” he said. “The nightly rallies used stage lighting to penetrate the darkness, reflective of what was happening in attendees’ hearts with Christ lighting up the darkness. The music was great too.”

Mr Clear said he hoped the opportunity to attend the conference would become more widely available for Tasmanian young people in the future.

“Ultimately, we would love to begin hosting similar outreaches here in Tasmania. At the very least, the conference provides a great framework for our youth to work from here in Tasmania; of how to walk with others into an encounter with Christ.”

The Ignite Conference has been hosted by the Brisbane Emmanuel Community for the past 22 years, branching out a few years ago to include a second conference in Sydney.

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