EXCLUSIVE: WA youth flock to Catholic festival, wowed by X Factor star priest
Excitement was certainly in the air over the weekend as Perth’s Catholic youth festival, Veritas 2017 kicked off on 30 June and finished on 2 July at Notre Dame University Fremantle. Photo: Supplied.
By Natashya Fernandez
Excitement was in the air as Western Australia’s Veritas Catholic Youth Festival, 2017 kicked off on 30 June and finished on 2 July.
In spite of the wet and chilly weather, youth thronged the venue at the University of Notre Dame Fremantle to participate in the festivities to deepen their faith and relationship with Jesus.
The event saw more than 550 youth from across Perth participate in a three-day spiritual journey packed with the Friday Night Rally featuring special guest, Fr Rob Galea, the Mighty Fest night and adoration night, on Saturday and the closing Mass with Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Bishop Don Sproxton and clergy from across Perth.
Based on the theme, “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His Name.” (Luke 1:49), the festival’s key speakers extracted three key themes in their presentations for the weekend – “He who is Mighty” (Friday Night), “Has done great things for me”(Saturday morning) and “Holy is His name” (Saturday night).
The three days included a wide range of workshops that addressed topics such as deal breakers in relationships, evangelisation, having a personal relationship with Christ, mental health and wellbeing, gender issues and the spiritual power of habit for all participants of different ages. Photo: Supplied.
Attendees had the opportunity to be part of a number workshops that addressed topics such as deal breakers in relationships, evangelisation, having a personal relationship with Christ, mental health and wellbeing, gender issues and the spiritual power of habit for the young adults attending Veritas.
The screams of excitement were a clear indication that the highlight for Veritas this year was Diocese of Sandhurst priest and X-factor star, Fr Rob Galea.
Saturday morning saw the inauguration of the teen’s stream welcoming high school students to join in for the youth festival weekend.
Catholic Youth Ministry Director Anita Parker said the whole festival was a great celebration of the diversity of our Church.
“We were able to draw on the talents of our local youth groups and various youth ministries to work together on hosting the weekend,” Ms Parker explained.
“Musically we had the diversity of contemporary music, Gospel music and traditional choirs over the weekend.
“Speakers and presenters came from areas of the Church focused on evangelisation, social justice and ministry with young people. This is the third year the Catholic Youth Network has hosted it and we are still looking to grow the festival weekend, particularly for the ‘Year of Youth’ next year in 2018.
“Our sponsors, The University of Notre Dame, Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation, alongside Catholic Super have all been a great support to help host the event and make it financially accessible for so many young people to attend from around Perth and WA.
Ms Parker also noted that a group of young people from Bunbury Diocese were able to attend the whole festival weekend, which is quickly growing into a whole of WA youth festival thanks to the help of sponsors.
With agencies and various Catholic youth movements flooding the halls on Saturday night for the ‘Mighty Fest’, each stall had something that caught the eye of many youth to stay that minute longer to engage and interact with the representatives.
The event saw more than 550 youth from across Perth revel in a three-day spiritual journey. Photo: Supplied.
Third time Veritas Festival attendee Desiree D’Souza, said that this year was a spiritually enriching experience for her.
“This is my third year and every year there is so much to learn and take away as a Catholic young person. The workshops and speakers were very engaging and I learned a lot more about my faith.
“If there was one thing to highlight for the three-day festival, it was Fr Rob Galea's talk and his praise and worship presentation.
“I had the privilege of singing alongside him and even got to meet him. The overall atmosphere was so joyful and the energy from everyone during the rallies in particular was amazing,” she said.
Taking a leaf out of the theme of the event, attendee John Kelly said that he was really blessed to have attended this year’s festival.
“The theme made me feel thankful for the great things that God has done in my life and over the course of the three days, I realised that to truly participate in the outer world as a better Catholic, I will have to learn to deepen my faith,” he added.
With the event coming to a close on Sunday, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB celebrated the Mass and said in his homily that he wanted to underline the importance of the festival and the knowledge that many have gained over the last three days.
“All sort of things have happened since Friday night, there have been lots of insights that people have gained. Lots of things that people perhaps have come to understand better, moments of deep prayer, I hope for many of you.”
“But at the heart of it all, there must be the person of Jesus or we have missed out completely on understanding what our Catholic faith is all about,” he added.
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe told youth at the recent CYM Veritas Festival that in today’s world, the biggest challenge is being a faithful Christian. Photo: FIO Photography.
The Archbishop also spoke about the Magnificat, explaining that in today’s world, the biggest challenge is being a faithful Christian.
“This is a big challenge for every single one of us because being a faithful disciple; being a faithful member of God’s Church isn’t always easy.
“There are all sorts of challenges. It’s not always easy, we can get a bit frightened by the pressure of other people.
“We can let ourselves become confused as people start throwing up all sorts of doubts about what the Church is on about, what we are supposed to be doing or not doing. We need to remember when those times happen, that the words that the angel said to Mary are the words that are said to us at our Baptism, our Confirmation and each time we open our hearts to the Lord.
“The Holy Spirit is with you, the power of the most high God covers you with its shadow, so don’t be afraid, I am with you. Hang on, be faithful.
“That’s the message that I hope will ring in your hearts that you will take away with you today; maybe to reflect on in the days ahead and recall at those times when it just seems to hard to be faithful to stay true to stand up to what you believe.
“Look around you at all the people who are here all on the same journey, all trying to be faithful to God, all with our own struggles and difficulties, and remember that you are not alone.
“There are many people who don’t speak up loudly all the time but who share your convictions and share your faith and share your hopes. Draw courage from each other, support each other and remember the Holy Spirit is with you and the power of the most high God covers you with its shadow,” he concluded.