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Local ACYF gathering a special moment for pilgrims in hope for challenges faced by the young Church


Perth Archbishop and Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) host Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB addressed the Perth pilgrims who attended the festival, at a specially organised local gathering on 10 December. Photo: Iceberg Media.

By Amanda Murthy

The 2019 ACYF celebrations held from 8 to 10 December resulted in many exciting experiences for pilgrims throughout the three day festival, with one of the many highlights being a ‘Perth-only’ gathering, catered especially for the 1566 local pilgrims.

Hosted by Catholic Youth Ministry Perth, the event held on the final day of the festival, from 12:30 to 1:30pm, was the perfect opportunity for the Perth youth and young adults to recap on their experiences, network with one another, pray and praise together and keep informed with local events happening in the near future.

The event was held at the Riverside Theatre, situated inside the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, where the entire three-day program took place.

Keeping with the local theme, former Australia’s Got Talent trio, The Subih Brothers who are part of the Perth Melkite-Greek Catholic community opened the event, with some pop covers, receiving crowd participation with the sing-a-long numbers. Instrumenta Dei (Former ETG Band) then led in a praise and worship session with a prayer for the youth to always be ‘opened to God’s call.’


Perth local group The Subih Brothers performed a few songs to open the Perth-only event, on 10 December, during the ACYF. Photo: Matthew Lau.

Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, who had been preparing for the ACYF Closing Mass at the Trinity College, made the time to attend the gathering and personally thank the youth for their commitment and enthusiasm shown throughout the festival.

“I remember being at the Sydney Youth Festival and thinking we were not ready to host a festival of this magnitude – but on the very last day of that festival (which was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December 2017) I was able to make the decision that we would host the next festival here in Perth,” Archbishop Costelloe cited, receiving a roar of applause from attendees.

“Deciding to host ACYF here in Perth, is one of the best decisions that I have made as an Archbishop of Perth.”

“So have a look around, and see all the other young people who have come together, to celebrate who we are as the young Church here in WA – Give yourselves another huge round of applause!,” Archbishop Costelloe added.


During the ACYF Perth local gathering event, the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth’s Safeguarding Office launched its’ third handbook titled The Power of Freedom, which serves as a young adult guide to physical, emotional and spiritual freedom and safety on 10 December. Photo: Matthew Lau.

Drawing attention to some of the challenges faced by the Church in today’s world, including the issue of child sexual abuse, Archbishop Costelloe acknowledged the tremendous hurt and damaged it has caused to victims of abuse, as a result of these senseless tragedies.

“Here at our Archdiocese of Perth, we have worked really hard both to care for those who have been hurt in the past, and do our best to ensure that sexual abuse never happens again in any one of our places.”

Archbishop Costelloe then announced the release of a new resource, titled ‘The Power of Freedom’, the third series of its kind, which aims to equip and empower the youth and young adults (from ages 18 to 25) with knowledge on physical, emotional and spiritual freedom and safety.


Instrumenta Dei (Former ETG Band) led in a praise and worship session during the Perth local gathering at the ACYF on 10 December. Photo: Matthew Lau.

The handbook, produced by the Perth Catholic Archdiocese Safeguarding Office and written by Safeguarding Project Compliance Officer Program Coordinator Barbara Blayney and Manager of Ministry Services at the University of Notre Dame Australia Fremantle Campus Tom Gourlay – addresses important issues such as understanding emotions, safety, bystander behaviour, internet safety, spiritual help – with opportunities for the reader to pen down their reflections.

Safeguarding Office Director Andrea Musulin took the stage to share her experiences as a child, then later as a mother to her daughter Esther, as she expressed the lack of resources and knowledge she had on the topic sex education in the past.

“This free handbook is about equipping you with the knowledge that you need to live your life freely and without fear,” Mrs Musulin stated.

“Archbishop Costelloe’s focus has always been on the safety of our young children, and to be able to support him in this journey is vital,” she added.