Tens of thousands of young Catholics will descend on Sydney Olympic Park today for three action-packed days with some of the world's best known Catholic speakers and musical artists, the Sydney Archdiocese reports.
The Australian Catholic Youth Festival has already attracted national media attention, with Australia's youngest bishop, Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers of Sydney speaking to the Nine Network about the impact the festival will have on the city.
Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP will welcome the nation's youth to Sydney this morning at the first plenary session, where an estimated 19,000 young people will gather for a morning of inspirational talks and live musical performance.
Internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Matt Maher and priest-performer sensation Fr Rob Galea will have the youth on their feet, while popular spiritual leader Sr Hilda Scott OSB will speak to them about the power of contemplative prayer.
Powerful youth-led drama will round out the morning before festival goers head off to a day full of workshops and interactive activities.
Transport NSW has announced public transport arrangements to meet the additional demand - both for the festival itself and for the closing public Mass in The Domain on Saturday, which is expected to attract around 30,000 people.
Xt3.com have announced that they will be live streaming the entirety of the event for people who cannot attend and for participants' families back home.
Meanwhile, Catholic Mission announced it is launching its '#ShoeStories Selfie Challenge' at the festival to engage young people in the work of global mission.
"At World Youth Day in Poland this year, Pope Francis called all young people into action, to be protagonists of history and to leave their mark in the world," said Roza Vukovich, who is coordinating Catholic Mission’s presence at the festival.
"He said that this requires courage and "a readiness to trade the sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths". We are inviting all young people to answer this call by taking part in the #ShoeStories Selfie Challenge."
The challenge requires ACYF attendees to pick up a map at the Justice Activity Centre, complete five of the challenges, and submit a video selfie at the filming booth of their shoe stories, before dropping a completed form in the big shoe to go in the running for a $1000 travel voucher.
Youth and Media Flock to ACYF (Sydney Archdiocese)
Share your #ShoeStories at ACYF and win a 1000 travel voucher (Catholic Mission)