Olivia Lee on ACYF: ‘helping young people find their unique purpose’

By Jordan Grantham, 5 October 2017
Olivia Lee, ACYF Sub-Committee member. Image: Supplied.

This article is part of a series of profiles on members of the Diocese of Parramatta who have been nominated to help prepare for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF). To read other profiles and learn more about the ACYF, click here.

Olivia Lee is Pastoral Associate at the Australian Catholic University and a Pastoral Council member of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. Olivia is on the Plenary Committee of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival.

What is your specific role in the ACYF?

I am part of the Plenary Management Committee, which is focusing on how to creatively animate and organize the Plenary Sessions at ACYF. 
 The core of what we do is focused on finding innovative ways to illustrate and unpack the Festival’s theme to young people so that they are able to see the beauty and relevance of the God’s love for them, and the Church’s call for them: 
Open new horizons for spreading joy:

Young people, faith and vocational discernment

What insights do you bring from your professional background?

As a Pastoral Associate to tertiary students, the insights I am able to bring the ACYF is a sense of knowing how the truth of God’s love can be explained to a young person in a way that relevant and authentic.

I have a particular love for being able to do this for the un-Churched young person who may be disillusioned with the Church – I encounter many of them in my role and every encounter has been a wonderful challenge for me to continually re-visit what my faith means for me.

What are you most looking forward to at the Australian Catholic Youth Festival?

I look most forward to just seeing thousands of young people gathering to praise God – and to seeing the effect of this on those who will take comfort in the sheer numbers of young Catholics in one space.

I also look forward the aftereffects of the ACYF and what young people feel called and drawn to do with their lives.

Have large Catholic gatherings supported your faith? How so?

Absolutely! World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney was the catalyst for my entire life to change so that I could know and love God in a way I never had before.

I find very comforting to be surrounded by large groups of people from around the world who share your faith.

For me it lessened the natural secrecy and shame I had in being Catholic because I thought there was so few of us – this was the first space in which I experienced a sense of pride and joy at being part of the Catholic Church – and it is a feeling that has never left me.

What are your specific activities to support the ACYF?

ACU Campus Ministry will be supporting and encouraging our students all across the country to come and join the Festival – and I will be doing this for North Sydney.

As of yet there are no set specific activities outlined to support the ACYF – but these will develop in the near future.

What is your favourite Catholic…

Movie?           The Passion of the Christ – closely followed by –  The Good Pope: Pope John XXIII

Song?             Michael Lorenc’s Ave Maria sung by Olga Szyrowa

Celebrity?     Mark Wahlberg

Hymn?           I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say – by Horatius Bonar

Artwork?       Michelangelo’s Pieta

Place of pilgrimage? I would love to go to the The Church of the Holy Sepulchre – and it’s definitely on the list! But a place of pilgrimage I have already been to, my favourite is the tomb of St Mary of the Cross – it’s a 2-minute walk away from my work so it’s a mini pilgrimage that always fills me with peace.

Saint?            Saint Bernadette – my patron, my namesake, and the Saint name my Godmother (who is a nun) also took.

Church?        Always has and always will be St Patrick’s Cathedral in good old Parramatta.

The ACYF registration process can be completed on mobile or tablet devices. Alternatively, groups and individuals can register online at, www.acyf.org.au. For further information, contact James Camden, Director – Catholic Youth Parramatta – on jcamden@parra.catholic.org.au or (02) 8838 3428.

This article is part of a series of profiles on members of the Diocese of Parramatta who have been nominated to help prepare for the ACYF. To read other profiles and learn more about the ACYF, click here.


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