The Festival will be the largest national gathering of Catholic young people since WYD 2008 and will be held 5 years after Pope Benedict XVI visited Australia for the Sydney WYD.
Bishop Anthony Fisher, the Bishops Delegate for Youth, said the concept of a national youth event has been discussed for many years: "The Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life and the Australian Catholic Youth Council has invested a good amount of time reflecting on the purpose and structure of a national youth event. It will be an exciting and vibrant gathering of young people full of music, talks, prayer and exhibitions.
"The Festival will provide young people with an opportunity to encounter Christ through the Catholic Church in Australia, and provide Bishops and Church leaders an opportunity to listen to and engage with young people on the issues and concerns in their lives."
Archbishop Hart, the president of the Australian Catholic Bishop Conference and the Archbishop hosting the Festival is very excited that the Catholic youth of Australia will go on pilgrimage to Melbourne for this inaugural national youth event.
"I welcome all young people who will come to Melbourne for the Festival. I hope they can make a pilgrimage to the wonderful St Patrick's Cathedral and to the birthplace of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop nearby. I look forward to meeting and talking with them."
The main venue for the gathering will be Australian Catholic University's St Patrick's Campus. The campus consists of two large outdoor spaces and two 6 storey buildings which will accommodate activities such as workshops, interactive activities, expo and live music. The campus is a short walk from St Patrick's Cathedral which is also expected to host activities within its precinct.
Elise Ganley, National Coordinator of the Young Christian Students movement, is one of the young people appointed to a National Steering Committee to develop and prepare for the Festival.
"The Festival presents an opportunity to harness the energy and enthusiasm of young people to participate in the life and mission of the Church, and in turn be catalysts of change in their schools, parishes and wider communities," said Elise.
Over the coming months the National Steering Committee will call for nominations for musicians, workshops, presenters and exhibition holders to be a part of the Festival. It will also seek submissions to identify a theme song for the Festival.
The Australian Catholic Youth Festival will have its official launch at the upcoming Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention on September 21st – 23rd. The anticipated program elements, additional venues and theme for the festival will be announced at a special dinner on Friday September 21st.