As per the NSW Government COVID-19 lockdown, all churches in the Macarthur and Illawarra (including Shellharbour region) will be closed to the public from 6pm on Saturday 26 June 2021 until at least midnight on Friday 30 July 2021.
ACYF2019, Youth and Young Adults, Bishop Brian Mascord
American speaker, evangelist and author Katie Prejean McGrady has told 5,500 young Australian Catholics that they are made “not only for something great” in this world, but that they are ultimately made “to worship God for eternity”. “You are truly made for not only something great, you’re not only made to make an impact in this world, but ultimately you are made to have a seat in the heavenly kingdom, you are made to worship God for eternity,” she said.
Our very own Bishop Brian Mascord led Eucharistic Adoration in the presence of 5,500 members of the Young Church of Australia in Perth. It truly was a Diocese of Wollongong affair with Bishop Brian being ably assisted by members of the diocese’s young people and accompanied by the sublime musical talents of local diocesan artists Guss and Iggy. Continue the ACYF journey with us on Day 4 as we hear again from Stefanie and Grant.
by Stefanie Kusters
Today was incredible! Not only do I feel so blessed to be here in Perth attending ACYF, but this group of Wollongong pilgrims are so on fire for the Lord and it’s so inspiring! I felt that clear messages were being conveyed to us young people today – to say ‘yes’, to share our testimony as a means of expressing our faith, and to allow the Lord to use the mess in our lives and turn it into a message of hope and of life. We come alive in Him and my beautiful friends were pure examples of this. Their faith inspires and spurs my own and I feel compelled by their witness to walk this path of faith with greater perseverance and confidence.
So far the festival has allowed me to grow ever greater in my joy in Christ, and it is in each encounter and each workshop and experience that I feel this growth and His light shining brighter. The day began and ended with profoundly moving talks and musical performances during the plenaries. I felt such a deep sense of being seen, known, understood and loved. While tears did come, so did laughter, and it was this contrast that really stood out to me. It was in the stillness and silence of Adoration, where all 5,500 of us pilgrims knelt down before the Blessed Sacrament, that I felt an overwhelming sense of unity with all gathered.
To say that ACYF has been an incredible bonding experience does not even scratch the surface and so I’m really looking forward to the closing Mass where we will celebrate Communion, together with the wider Perth community.
Stefanie is a past student of St Mary Star of the Sea College Wollongong and is commencing her third year of Law and International Studies at the University of Wollongong. She is a parishioner at St John Vianney Co-Cathedral Fairy Meadow.
A good day
By Grant Withnall
“Today is a good day!”. That’s the motto our small group have adopted on this pilgrimage. We would wake up and say “today is going to be a good day” even before the day has started, and when we return to our accommodation at night we would confirm which each other that “today was a good day”. Why wouldn’t we have a good day at a festival full of likeminded young people who have listened to and received the Holy Spirit?
Like the previous day, we began with a morning with a plenary session with music and inspiring speakers that helped the atmosphere come alive again once more. From there, I chose to attend a leadership workshop entitled “Why you’re a better leader than the Pope…” The speaker, Sebastian Duhau, explored in detail about what actually makes someone a leader and also how to actively grow as one by following the example of a pope. The presentation was confronting, as it challenged and invited us to embrace our identity in God to find our true leadership potential.
This was then followed by a presentation by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe about “Listening to God: how do we know what God is saying?” His inspiring words left many like myself excited about God’s plan for our lives, but also challenged us to respond with a generous “yes!”.
To round of a good day, we gathered together for the evening plenary. During this time, we were again treated to inspiring talks and testimonies, followed by Eucharistic adoration led by our very own Bishop Brian Mascord. Adoration was a beautiful and emotional experience where many found themselves in tears of joy and hope, or on the floor in praise.
This part of our journey is what defines and strengthens our experience, to look to Christ and answer his call, for a future full of hope.
Grant Withnall is a past student of Mount Carmel Catholic College Varroville and is studying Information Communication and Technology at the University of Western Sydney. He is also a youth leader at ‘Live Local’ (a diocesan youth group in the Macarthur area).
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Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.