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Marist Youth Festival in Sydney

17/01/2015: Australia - Photo gallery

The 2015 Australian Marist Youth Festival commenced on 12 January in Sidney, with a colourful opening liturgy prepared by the MYM Teams from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. 180 participants from across Australia were welcomed to Gadigal Country by Indigenous elder, Uncle Charles Madden. Br Jeff Crowe officially opened the Festival and Br Emili offered an appetizer on his keynote address ‘Just Living – Hearts without borders’.

Tuesday 13th January

Following on from the presentations given by Sr Brigid Arthur and Laura John in the morning session, the afternoon was given over to a series of faith and justice workshops followed by Exposition and Reconciliation. Dinner was held at the Australian Technology Park, with Taize prayer in the evening to bring the day to a close.

The presence of 30 Brothers at Taize prayer was reminiscent of the Taize evening held at MYF08 during World Youth Day in Sydney. Again, young people gathered in prayer, song and silence around the Taize Cross, the Icon of Mary and the Marist heart, asking the Lord for hearts to be awakened and renewed. The evening concluded with supper and some light  entertainment back at  Sancta Sophia.


Wednesday 14th January 

class=imgshadowBr Emili commenced the morning session, inviting the young participants to reflect on the way in which social media affects and influences their daily lives, and how today’s ‘culture of indifference’ which Pope Francis speaks about can become a barrier in responding whole-heartedly to the Gospel; hence the phrase, ‘just living’ or simply getting by. The gift of Br Emili’s presentation came through his personal challenge to everyone to adopt a Marial approach to life, through service, sorority and silence; “To be Marist today is to be grounded in prayer and action. Contemplation and a spirit of interiority are the foundations of any Christian life which nurtures our desire for service and justice.” Always the teacher, Br Emili then led the participants through a practical period of silent contemplation, encouraging everyone to make this an intentional part of their daily lives.

Br Emili’s presentation was followed by Fr Peter Day, a diocesan priest from Canberra who lived with the Brothers’ Community at Pearce some years back. Peter is the founder of HOME in Queanbeyan, which provides accommodation for people living with mental illness, and who have formerly been living on the streets. In a simple yet powerful way, Peter brought  key  scenes  from  the Gospel to life, with stories from the streets and the marginalised he had encountered in his own ministry. It was a real moment of connecting faith with justice for the young people present.
The afternoon sessions saw another round of workshops including a Marist Q&A where Young Marists shared what gives them meaning and joy in being part of the various MYM communities across Australia, together with their personal hopes for the future. Joe McCarthy, Director of the Marist Association, gave an overview of the new movement and explained how young people can be part of this association into the future.
The Festival Eucharist was held in the evening with Bishop Peter Ingham from the Diocese of Wollongong as the chief celebrant, assisted by Fr Andrew Hamilton, SJ, Fr Bob Barber, SM, Provincial of the Society of Mary, Fr Peter Day and Fr Rob Galea. Sr Gail Reneker, SM, joined us for the Mass. The celebration was followed by a praise and worship concert put on by Fr Rob Galea and his band.


Thursday 16th January

The final morning saw Br Emili back on stage joined by Kate Fogarty, a long- time Marist and new principal of Assumption College, Kilmore. Both presenters led the participants through a creative ‘where to from here’ reflection on how to make these days of input, celebration and prayer real, as everyone prepared to head back to their home destinations. The session concluded with a closing liturgy with reflections from Br Michael Green, two young Marists and a commissioning ceremony led by Emili, finishing with the singing of the Sub Tuum.


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