Not many musicians can say that they’ve performed in front of over 600,000 fans.
But at World Youth Day 2019 in Panama, Victorian priest Fr Rob Galea did just that. Fr Rob performed in front of Pope Francis and hundreds and thousands of pilgrims from around the world at the Saturday Vigil, which saw pilgrims camp out ahead of the final Mass with the Holy Father.
“I was invited to attend World Youth Day by the Vatican, but I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Fr Rob said. “Singing for Pope Francis and for those millions of pilgrims was a new experience, and the climax to my pilgrimage.”
Now back in Australia, Fr Rob Galea will be the special guest as Catholic Youth Parramatta (CYP) launch their 2019 calendar this week at the EVAN Theatre in Penrith.
Following on from the pilgrimage to Panama, Catholic Youth Parramatta want 2019 to build on the success and blessing of the Year of Youth and to ensure that young people, or what Pope Francis called the “Church of Now,” have their voices heard in the Plenary Council 2020 process.
Catholic Youth Parramatta’s LIFTED series on Thursday and Friday will feature music, discussions and prayer with Fr Rob Galea for Year 6 students, Year 12 school leaders and youth from parishes and schools across the Diocese of Parramatta.
Fr Rob, who is returning to the Diocese of Parramatta following last year’s LIFTED Live, said that he is delighted to be performing for the youth of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
“To me, discipleship should not be a hit-and-run experience, so I was glad to be able to return to the Diocese of Parramatta.
“CYP do an incredible job of encouraging the youth to experience their faith.
“I really hope that the young people get to experience an encounter with God, and not to just have a good time.
It may be a couple of busy days for Fr Rob, who has a new album coming out in March, a new book later this year and a national tour on the cards, but he doesn’t see it that way.
“I am not afraid of hard work. When I am preaching and singing, it doesn’t feel like work. If people are encountering God, then I know that I have done my job.”
If young people are unsure about whether to come to the LIFTED sessions, Fr Rob had some great advice.
“We are afraid of experiences in the Church that may bore us. LIFTED is not like that.
“LIFTED is a lively session filled with joy.
“Missing out will only bring us regret.
“Give it a go. Give it a try.”
Fr Rob Galea will be the special guest for Catholic Youth Parramatta’s LIFTED Live sessions on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 February at the EVAN Theatre at Penrith Panthers.