Tassie pilgrims join five thousand young Australians at ACYF

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Tassie pilgrims join five thousand young Australians at ACYF

Eighty-two pilgrims from Tasmania joined more than 5000 others from across Australia at the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Perth.

From Sunday, December 8 to Tuesday, December 10, attendees heard talks, prayed, listened to music and encountered others, while reflecting on the Biblical exhortation to “Listen to what the Spirit is saying”.

Fr Rob Galea, a priest of the Sandhurst Diocese and a renowned singer-songwriter, used the festival’s opening session to invite delegates to be open to the voice of God in their lives.

“Lord, we don’t want to walk out of this place the same way we walked in. We know that when you speak, our lives, our hearts are changed forever. So Lord, we give you the permission these next few days to speak to our hearts, to speak into our lives.

“Lord, we give you the permission to mess up our plans. We want you, Jesus. We want your guidance, Holy Spirit. You can take the world, you can take everything. Give us you. Come, Holy Spirit.”

Tomasz Juszczak, the Director of the Office of Youth Evangelisation for the Archdiocese of Hobart, led the Tasmanian pilgrimage and said the young people had been sharing a sense of God at work during the festival.

“They’ve really gained an openness to having a relationship with the Holy Spirit,” Mr Juszczak said.

“They’re really feeling like: ‘This has happened for a reason, I have been led here, I do feel that God is present with [me], and accompanying us’ – a lot of them have said that.”

He said that young people have shared how the ACYF has opened their mind up to how God is concretely at work in their lives.

“And in all the little different things that people have spoken to me, the common thing would have been that there has been a real openness to God and what the Holy Spirit wants to give. It really is beautiful.”

The bond between the Tasmanian pilgrims was also evident. When 17-year-old Bonnie from Montrose was on stage for a segment with Bishop Columba MacBeth-Green OSPPE called ‘Cruisin’ with Columba’ (which involved driving onto the stage in a four-wheel drive before sitting around a campfire), the Tasmanians were cheering so loud that people came up to Mr Juszczak and commented that there must be a very large group of Tasmanians.

Other young people from Tasmania have also taken to the stage, with Zelia Matuszek, of Neika, introducing Archbishop Julian to the entire pilgrim-body at ACYF.

Mr Juszczak said that the bond between the Tasmanian pilgrims has been “great to see”.

“It’s been really beautiful travelling together.

“Everything’s really been led by the Holy Spirit.”