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2019 ACYF Pilgrims Recalls their fondest memories
BY DENSHIYA SHELTON
SCSYG - St Catherine of Siena Youth Group
Pictured above: St Catherine of Siena Youth (SCSYG), St Peter Chanel Youth Group (SPC) and Missionary Families of Christ Youth (MFC)
14TH DECEMBER 2019 6:30pm
This time last year I was anxiously waiting for my VCE results, Little did I know I would be see myself heading off to one of the world's largest Youth Catholic festivals.
Over 5,500 young people from around Australia gathered in Perth to experience the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) which took place from December 7th to December 12th. The event, put on by the Australian Catholic Bishops (ACBC) celebrating the faith of young people from the Church of Australia and the opportunity to develop a relationship with Jesus.
By the grace of God and the generosity of the parishioners in St Catherine of Siena, 25 eager youth representing St Catherine of Siena Parish, whom were in collaboration with Saint Peter Chanel Youth Group (SPC) & Missionary Families of Christ Youth (MFC) were able to experience six days of spiritual awakening. Below we hear from some of the youth who share their personal experiences and fondest moments.
Fr Richard Rosse shares- "ACYF 19 was the second youth festival which I attended. It was again, for me, a wonderful experience of young Catholics of Australia coming together to share our wonderful faith. The young pilgrims to whom I spoke during and after the festival reported having had a wonderful experience of Jesus Christ, particularly with Adoration and Confession. My prayer is that they now go deeper into the faith and fall in love anew with Jesus Christ and his Church."
Anonymous Pilgrim shares- “In spite of the turbulence in our journey, I believe God had a purpose why. They weren't wrong when they said that no matter the reason why each individual came to the pilgrimage, it would change them in some way, shape or form. They say that in times of hardship is when people grow the most. I believe that everyone in our contingent has grown as a child of God, whether they realise it or not. Despite the bumps, I can truly say that I couldn't have asked for a better first ACYF experience”. Psalm 46:1
Anonymous Pilgrim shares- “ACYF was such a great experience. I was able to meet people of similar faith, learn and make friendships throughout the pilgrimage. It has opened up my views as a catholic, giving me knowledge and building opinions. I had fun throughout and I hope to do something similar as ACYF again. Lastly, I would like to thank the parishioners and the church for supporting us, the youth who went and giving us the opportunity to experience our faith in a different way”.
Leonie Seisun shares- ”ACYF was the boost I needed not only for my faith life, but also my Ministry. Through this year's experience I re-connected with God, allowing me to be more in tune to his voice guiding me through every day. This reconnectedness showed me how God wanted me to serve Him and His church. I believe God is asking me to continue with my Ministry as a youth leader, but also to start up music ministry again at my youth group and take opportunities up for public speaking”
Patricia Malapitan shares- “Attending ACYF was honestly a last minute decision, but one that I’ll be forever grateful for. Since coming back home, I can see that acyf was an experience that has pushed me forward on my Spiritual journey, and I’m excited to see where it’ll take me. I’ve made many friendships and happy memories that i’ll carry for life, and I can’t wait for ACYF 2021”
Angelo Malapitan shares- ”ACYF was really a once in a lifetime experience for me. As a shy person in general, I was never used to showing my faith to others. However, seeing the thousands of youth come together to explore their faith, I was able to come out of my shell and be myself for the rest of the trip. I’ve grown in my faith and I can’t wait for ACYF 2021!”
Nicki Edward shares- “The ACYF’s I have attended have been the highlight of my life as both a youth and a leader. The ability to envelope yourself completely in the arms of the lord with so many other youth new ceases to amaze me. It was also such an amazing pleasure for me to be able to bring other youth to this experience and support them along their faith journey and be there for them every step of the way. Can’t wait till the next one”
JM shares- “ACYF was a surreal experience. Seeing so many enthusiastic young people gathered together in one place with the desire to strengthen and deepen their relationship with God was an amazing sight to see. I found ACYF to be a spirit-filled journey that requires you to have an open heart and an open-mind. It was also a journey filled with many discoveries where you discover yourself, your relationship with God and your Catholic faith. All in all, ACYF was an experience where I met new friends and at the same time better my faith and improve my relationship with God”.
John Cao shares- “The experience that I have witnessed in ACYF was genuinely positive in both a spiritual & physical matter especially in spirituality. Through meeting new & old friends from schools, youth groups which I haven’t been in touch for a while & those in ACYF who show enthusiasm of what we believe in for the first place. Still knowing there is hope the faith as a whole in His name has a relevance to our modern society today Australia. Say your big ‘Yes’ and God is Good”
My mind traces back to our first fundraiser, in June 2019 along with our donation box that was placed out in the church foyer after all weekend masses. We started up a new goal this year to raise funds to help send some off our youth to the Australian Catholic Youth Festival. We managed to raise up to $10,954.00, A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who came out to all the fundraisers and for all the kind and generous donations to support our pilgrims! We are so grateful to have a parish that is so generous and supportive of its young people. Also, a big thanks to all of St Catherine of Siena Youth Group, the ACYF pilgrims, and the ACYF leadership team who helped to make this ACYF such a success.
We hope that this exciting journey gave the opportunity for our young people to have a personal encounter with Christ, to be encouraged by the witness of other young Catholics, not just to deepen their own faith, but to share it with others.
ACYF 2021 will you be there?
Denshiya Shelton SCSYG (St Catherine of Siena Youth Group)
Closer look: St Catherine of Siena Youth
Our invitation from us to you
Welcome to the first ever news edition of our youth group! St Catherine of Siena Youth group sessions are run by a team of youth leaders from St Catherine of Siena Parish who range in their late teens and 20s, Nicki Edward, Joanne Monsales, Shannon Rosario, Denshiya Shelton, Kate Vukoja and Pamela Soto. They've all taken on leadership roles on the sidelines while hustling in different stages of their lives.
We all started out in St Catherine Siena youth group which was formed in 2015. While some of us leaders are in university or starting out in our careers, we look forward to lending our advice and welcoming current and new youth in their early teens to late twenties. We run every second and fourth Sunday of each month from 6:00-7:30pm.
We hope to generate discussions on topics that are important to our faith, life and social wellbeing all while on a friendly, supportive and growing platform designed for youth. Each year we grow in newcomers from all different backgrounds. It's always rewarding to see day one of youth sessions turn into a free space of Sunday night haven and hangout that aspires to connect and deliver content . As leaders we hope the youth can leave with a take-home message that aims to bring meaning to the decisions we wake up with every morning.
Everyday in life is different which is why no youth group session is the same. We plan our sessions based on themes that are relevant and sometimes invite special guest speakers. We love to mix it up with light-hearted games while maintaining and valuing prayer and God's message as our core foundation.
Every 2nd Sunday of every month we also have a youth choir during the 10:30am mass which goes back to our first youth mass that started in 2008. Though we're not professional singers by any means, all singing in the shower voices are welcome. Even if you would like to give it a go or join us we would love to have you on board. You can look out for us right by the piano area for 10:30am mass. Currently we are looking for anyone who knows how to play an instrument. If you or someone you know plays an instrument please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you!
In June 2019, we started up a new goal this year to raise funds to help send some of our youth to the Australian Catholic Youth Festival which takes place in Perth from 8th-10th December 2019. ACYF is the largest national gathering of Catholic youth in Australia and exists to provide young people with opportunities to deepen their relationship with Jesus. More information can found on the ACYF website.
Our goal is to raise $10,000 to help send our St Catherine of Siena youth pilgrims to experience ACYF in 2019. Two of our youth leaders Nicki Edward and Shannon Rosario attended ACYF in 2017 and recently shared their testimonies during the mass in August. If each family donated $20 it would help us get closer to our goal. If you or someone you know are interested to attend ACYF, please feel free to get in touch with our youth leader Nicki Edwards via email@example.com who is our ACYF Coordinator for St Catherine Siena Youth.
Our first fundraiser started off with a Family Trivia Night for parishioners and families on the 6th of July which helped us raise $892.90. A special thanks to Father Richard, the parishioners and families for their support and kind donations that turned out to be an enjoyable night. We also thank Catholic Regional College for providing the venue, facilities and for their ongoing support with supplying the hall for our fortnightly youth sessions.
In the next coming weeks more fundraisers are in the works. A donation box in the church foyer is available during the weekend masses. Please feel free to keep an eye out for our fundraiser donation meter which will be displayed in the church foyer. Thank you in advance for your support and kind donations.
We also thank the youth who join us at the youth sessions, we enjoy your company and love seeing the youth grow, support and keeping the conversation going. If you're interested to find out more about our youth sessions or becoming a youth leader we'd love to hear from you. You can join us at any of the sessions or send us an email.
Please also feel free to chat to one of our youth leaders if you see us at any of the masses. You can find our profiles on our youth board located in the church foyer. New content, photos and updates about past and future sessions are published on our Instagram and Facebook page. You can also check this website page too.
In the meantime we are closely working towards creating more projects for the youth within our parish and school community and also collaborating closer with the school and other ministries.
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading our first youth article. As always reading about it is just scraping the surface, truly heading down to our youth gatherings is the best way to find out and it's our invitation to you from the faith we share. Our door is always open and we can't to see what we have in store next for our youth and parish community.
From us to you,
SCSYG (St Catherine of Siena Youth Group)
Coordinator: Pamela Soto
Vice-Coordinator: Denshiya Shelton
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