The forecourt of St Patrick’s Cathedral attracted more than 300 young people from across the Diocese of Parramatta for the first Diocesan Youth Rally, held on the Feast of St John Paul II.
The rally on 24 October 2015 was coordinated by Catholic Youth Parramatta (CYP), the Diocese Youth Council and the World Youth Day Committee.
The rally is a new initiative of Catholic Youth Parramatta, who hope to facilitate a similar event a couple of times throughout the year. The concept provides young people with a welcoming, festival-like experience where connected Catholics can invite a friend.
As the sun set over the precinct, the Cathedral steps were transformed into a spectacular stage for youth bands from Our Lady of the Angels Parish at Rouse Hill, Mary Queen of the Family Parish at Blacktown and Youth for Christ to perform short sets of music throughout the evening.
Each group entertained the crowd with a selection of appropriate chart-topping music and worship songs from their ministries.
The Chair of the Diocese Youth Council, Fr Paul Roberts, opened the rally with an inspiring and motivational call to follow the example of St John Paul II as he welcomed and encouraged the young people of the Diocese to enjoy and embrace their coming together from all reaches of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
The recent unveiling of the statues of St John Paul II with young people provided an opportunity for young people at the rally to truly celebrate the occasion with the founder of our Diocese and father of World Youth Day.
A wall of mercy allowed participants to write a prayer of intercession or light a candle before the statues.
Throughout the program young people preparing for various national and international pilgrimages to the Philippines and Poland for World Youth Day 2016, and Adelaide for next month’s Australian Catholic Youth Festival were treated to bursts of formation about the life, spirituality, impact and history of St John Paul II.
The talented Youth Mission Team performed a drama and Polish dancing by the Lajkonik Group gave the crowd a taste of what to expect in St John Paul II’s homeland, Poland, during WYD.
A number of youth groups took up the opportunity to run stalls that provided food or fun activities to involve young people. Any profits earned are being pooled back into their parish fundraising for WYD or other worthy causes.
The WYD Pilgrimage Leadership Team, Small Group Leaders and Chaplains were announced on the night:
Pilgrimage Leadership Team
Sr Rosie Drum MGL
Small Group Leaders
Simone Di Matteo
Sr Lucy Vo
Rev Jolly Chacko MS
Rev Clifford D’souza MSFS
Rev Ruben Elago MSP
Rev John Paul Escarlan
Rev Andrew Fornal OP
Rev Shane Reade SDB
Rev Peter Strohmayer OSPPE
Rev Robert William
For more images of the event click here