Australian Church leaders have announced a major national gathering, the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, due to take place in the Archdiocese of Melbourne from Dec. 5–7, 2013.
Bishop Anthony C. Fisher of Parramatta, the Australian bishops' youth delegate, said the festival would give young people “an opportunity to encounter Christ through the Catholic Church,” while letting Church leaders “listen to and engage with young people on the issues and concerns in their lives.”
Up to 4,000 Australians, from ages 13 to 25, are expected to participate in the event. In a July 30 announcement, Bishop Fisher said the country's bishops had been planning it in the years since Pope Benedict XVI's 2008 visit for World Youth Day in Sydney.
“The Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life and the Australian Catholic Youth Council has invested a good amount of time reflecting on the purpose and structure of a national youth event,” the youth delegate noted.
Bishop Fisher said the December 2013 festival “will be an exciting and vibrant gathering of young people full of music, talks, prayer and exhibitions.”
Melbourne Archbishop Denis J. Hart, president of the bishops' conference, said in the announcement that he anticipates pilgrims arriving from across the country.
“I welcome all young people who will come to Melbourne for the Festival,” he said. “I hope they can make a pilgrimage to the wonderful St. Patrick’s Cathedral and to the birthplace of St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop nearby. I look forward to meeting and talking with them.”
St. Patrick's Campus, at Australian Catholic University, will serve as the event's main venue for activities such as workshops and live music. Other events are expected to be hosted in the area around the nearby St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Further details about the festival, including its official theme, will be announced Sept. 21 at a formal launch during the Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention.