Year of Grace begins with Spirit Alive festival
The Catholic Diocese of Wollongong opened its doors at John Therry Catholic High School, Rosemeadow, on Saturday 26 May with well over two and a half thousand people marvelling at how much there was to see and do. There were over one hundred stalls, many sessions showcasing community work, keynote speakers, music and dance, prayer and worship, food from around the world and free rides for the kids!
The Spirit Alive Festival was the largest Catholic celebration in the Macarthur since World Youth Day. One Mum was delighted when she heard the rides were free as a lot of families during these tough times can’t afford to let their kids go on more than one ride at a normal show.
Fr Michael Healy, Parish Priest at Campbelltown, was amazed with the turn-out. He said: “I never expected it to be like this. This is great!” Catholics from around the Diocese also shared this enthusiasm. Trevor Kellam from the Catholic Development Fund said: “It was great for me to see the many good things we are a part of.”
The Little Sisters of the Poor and Sisters of Nazareth were also proud to be a part of the day and have people learn more about their Orders. Hundreds of Students from John Therry Catholic High Schoolproudly volunteered their time to help out on the day.
While the day was a celebration for Catholics, it also was an eye opener for others. Bishop Peter Ingham said: “The day showed that while Jesus Christ is central to us in our worship, there are also many ways we serve Jesus Christ in our community. The many stalls on the day featured our work in health and aged care, for people living with disability, with education and support for young families, foster care, prison ministry and international aid. Sometimes as Catholics we also need to be reminded of the many good ways we serve the broader community. And there is always an invitation for others to start afresh from Christ.”
The festivities continued on into the evening with Spirit Alive PM, a large celebration for young people. It began with a packed Youth Mass celebrated by Bishop Peter, followed by a Vinnies BBQ and prayer, praise and worship featuring an outstanding live band and inspiring talks. At the youth festival, over one hundred young people came forward and lit a candle to express a renewed commitment to God in their own life.
One of the young people, Cameron, said: “It was great to share my faith with other young people. It’s great to see the Church so alive. It gives me hope for the future.” Patrick, a young man training for the priesthood, said how much he enjoyed the day. “This is the church come to life!” he said.
Photos of the Spirit Alive Ministry Festival and Spirit Alive PM Youth Festival are available for viewing on Bishop Peter Ingham’s Facebook page at the following links: