Fr Rob Galea and the LIFTED Band rocked Rooty Hill RSL to launch the Year of Youth in the Diocese of Parramatta the evening of Thursday 22 February.
The curtains drew back to reveal the LIFTED Band after a heavy bass video countdown. The crowd of more than 300 people enthusiastically joined the dance floor.
After the supporting act, Fr Rob complimented the LIFTED Band, “What an amazing gift you have in this diocese. What amazing voices, as well.”
He began with crowd pleaser Our God will reign, that involved ample audience singing and clapping in the chorus.
Throughout the night Fr Rob shared his entertaining and moving testimony through word and song.
Fr Rob provided meaningful personal experiences and amusing anecdotes as a segue into the songs.
For example, he quoted St Paul’s Letter to the Romans 7:15, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
Fr Rob then joked about how he sees people disappear from gyms after January, as an example of the difficulty living virtuously.
“Maybe St Paul had a gym membership he never showed up for. He was imperfect but that doesn’t change the amazing plan that God has for us,” he said before singing Swedish House Mafia’s hit Don’t You Worry Child.
He explained that only God could help him speak in front of a crowd, let alone have performed in front of millions of people, with his powerful fear of crowds.
VIEW: Images from the LIFTED Live! featuring Fr Rob Galea below or click here.
More about his journey to overcome depression and a troubled childhood can be read in his novel Breakthrough – a Journey from Desperation to Hope.
“My ideal day is just to hide in my room,” he said, sharing a photo of him with dog Gozo. “He is cuter than your dog,” he quipped.
Several videos launched the Year of Youth with the powerful quotation that: “the world promises you comfort but you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.”
James Camden, Director of Catholic Youth Parramatta, spoke about the meaning of the launch in CYP’s calendar of dynamic youth ministry events, conferences and the World Youth Day Panama pilgrimage in 2019.
The Year of Youth indigenous artwork was also unpacked about ‘Christ our Joy’, with the variety of Catholic youth expressed through many colours and shapes.
“Some are gathered, others are more isolated,” James said.
“Some of those dots are closer to God, others are further away and that’s just a reality of the young heart of the Church,” he said.
The artwork pointing to the Resurrection, “the source of our joy.”
It has been printed on 20,000 posters and 30,000 prayer cards.
Mindy Mercado, youth minister, came along to catch up with youth from across the parishes, “start planning for the year and see what the Year of Youth is all about,” she said.
Mindy is giving back to others through youth ministry, after having grown through youth ministry herself.
“People from my past have shown me what faith is and how to see the face of Jesus in everyone,” she said.
“I feel like my job is to spread the light to others who don’t see that face.”
Mindy has an active prayer life, an ongoing conversation with God, saying “I’m here Lord, let me do what is your will.”
St John Paul II Catholic College, Schofields had a large group at LIFTED Live, “feeding off the energy and spirit of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival,” teacher Len Lara said.
Kids who experienced Christ in ACYF inspired other students to come to LIFTED Live, Len said.
An important reason for St John Paul II Catholic College’s active participation in youth ministry is the supportive school leaders and staff, and an ongoing school-based youth ministry.
A moving conclusion to LIFTED Live was when Fr Rob invited Matt Bretania to perform with him on stage. Fr Rob shared that Matt is joining the Seminary of the Holy Spirit, Harris Park to the cheers of the crowd.