By James Camden, Catholic Outlook, November 2016
The skies cleared, the clouds lifted, and the energy soared as 450 young people from across the Diocese of Parramatta descended on the forecourt of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta on 22 October 2016 to celebrate the Feast Day of St John Paul II.
LIFTED Live in the Forecourt is a celebration of the talent exhibited by young people in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains and was the last of Catholic Youth Parramatta’s large-scale evangelisation events for the year; an evolution of last year’s highly successful Diocese Youth Rally.
As the sun set over the precinct, the Cathedral stairs were transformed into a spectacular stage for youth bands from the parishes of Greystanes, Marayong, Blacktown and Quakers Hill who performed short sets of popular music to the impressive crowd that had gathered.
This year the event increased its capacity with the construction of an acoustic forecourt stage that allowed smaller acts to play in between the more significant parts of the program.
This stage hosted more intimate performances from Andrew Gorkic and Sarah Agbulos who are World Youth Day pilgrims from St John XXIII Parish, Glenwood-Stanhope Gardens, Glen Lumanta who is a graduate of Patrician Brothers’ College, Blacktown, and now a professional singer/songwriter, as well as special guest Emma Fradd from NET Ministries Australia.
LIFTED Live is now a key strategy of CYP in drawing young people into a safe, welcoming, and affirming environment that mirrors the positive ingredients of popular culture, yet showcases the gifts of identifying with the young Church of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
Countless priests, religious, and youth leaders of the Diocese were present to connect with those searching for inclusion in all that the Diocese has to offer in the broader mission of the Church.
A new addition to the LIFTED Live concept was the further development of the Diocesan Dance Crew – a new group that invites talented dancers to come together, choreograph and perform at the event. The crew was outstanding and within minutes had the crowd dancing.
The event celebrated many things – the return of pilgrims from WYD 2016 in Krakow, the feast day of St John Paul II, the 30th anniversary of the Diocese, and the continued growth and popularity of LIFTED Live.
However, nothing could beat welcoming Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv to a youth gathering for the first time and hearing him share his vision for the Church’s local mission.
LIFTED Live nights now complement CYP’s range of other programs designed for training and forming youth leaders in schools and parishes.
To contact CYP send an email to JCamden@parra.catholic.org.au
To view a gallery of photos from LIFTED Live, click here.
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James Camden is Director of Catholic Youth Parramatta (CYP).