A look at the first Tasmanian Catholic Youth Festival

The very first Tasmanian Catholic Youth Festival (TCYF) took place in Hobart and Launceston in May and CCI Personal Insurance were proud to be one of its Bronze Sponsors. The creation of the festival was inspired by the positive response of over 100 students and young adults from the Archdiocese of Hobart who attended the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Sydney in December 2017.

We spoke to Tomasz Juszczak, the director of the Office of Youth Evangelisation for the Archdiocese of Hobart and one of the TCYF event organisers, about the inaugural launch.

How would you describe the festival?

The inaugural Tasmanian Catholic Youth Festival (TCYF) was a great success based on the feedback of participants and those involved. The general feeling at this year’s festival was one of real enthusiasm and joy. There were several hundred young people in attendance over the two events in Launceston and Hobart.

What did the festival entail, in the way of learning, discussion and entertainment?

The festival comprised of a number of different sessions and experiences, which promoted discussion and learning amongst young people in a very open and entertaining way. The main sessions of the day were three plenary sessions, which involved music performances, a keynote talk on a specific theme around joy, videos, testimonies and moments of prayer.

Young people also had the opportunity to attend one workshop during the day, where they were given a choice from a number of topics of interest concerning the Catholic faith. Some workshops were in the form of talks, others were a mixture of music, talk, prayer and video. These different elements added another dimension to their formation and experience of the faith.

The youth also had a significant amount of time where they were able to roam around the ‘Expo’ and ‘Chill-out’ rooms. The Expo room was full of stalls, which included a number of giveaways, experiences, information and discussion time for young people to get further immersed in various aspects related to the faith and their life as a young person. The Chill-out room gave young people the chance to relax and have a bit of fun by playing a St John Paul the Great video game, giant Jenga and giant Connect 4. They were also able to watch some short videos on the faith if they were keen.

Why do you think engaging young people in the Church through events like the festival is so important?

It’s important because it gives young people an experience of the faith that’s different to their normal experience and one that is more relatable and accessible for them. Particularly in places like Tasmania, where young Catholics are dispersed and don’t have many other young people to connect with in their parishes, these events give them an opportunity to ask questions and engage in matters of faith alongside their peers. Many young people can think of the Church as old, stale and boring, so it’s important that they experience just how joyful and alive the Church really is!

What was the response from the youth that attended the festival?

The response was quite overwhelming, actually. Young people responded very positively, especially because many of them had never experienced something like this before. They spoke of how much fun they were having, how much they had learned about the faith, how they never realised how relevant the Church was to them, how they wanted to learn more and be part of more festivals like this. It was music to my ears because that was essentially the reason for all the hard work that went into the festival. We wanted to show young people the message of hope and joy that the Church has for them.

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