An Easter event like no other: Light to the Nations

light to the nations

Every year, Light to the Nations puts up a giant marquee in regional NSW and is quickly surrounded by a makeshift ‘tent city’. Young people travel far and wide to make their Easter pilgrimage here, so what’s it all about?

Four days of action-packed Easter festivities are on the cards for any who attend Light to the Nations. This year, the Bowral-based event saw more than 1,100 people journey to the Southern Highlands for the chance to worship with likeminded people and deepen their commitment to Jesus.

More than just a festival

Therese Mills, Co-ordinator for Light to the Nations, was thrilled that this year’s event saw the greatest number of attendees yet with numbers continuing to grow each year. Having been an annual staple for more than 30 years, it’s become a pilgrimage for many people, and not just those based in Australia.

“We had 15 people from Papua New Guinea come this year,” Therese says. “They had been fundraising for two years to get here. We also had attendees from Indonesia, Singapore and New Zealand. There were also representatives from all the states and territories within Australia, with individuals coming from places as far as Darwin, Townsville, Perth and Tasmania.”

With open arms

While focused on young adults aged 16 to 35, Therese says Light to the Nations is also for families and the young at heart. Some choose to camp for the entire event, which commences on Holy Thursday and concludes on Easter Sunday, while others come for the major highlights like Stations of the Cross and the Saturday night Easter vigil.

But Light to the Nations goes become the traditional elements, and Therese says it’s important that her team is able to engage with young people through music, multimedia and dynamic preaching.

“Young people can get so caught up in all the issues of the world,” she says. “But when they come to events like Light to the Nations, I believe they are able to find hope.

“It’s also an opportunity for them to reflect and ask themselves, ‘What’s my life about?’ A lot of the young people do come away from the event having been enriched. They go back into their communities and parishes on fire for their faith.”

Reaching a wider audience with the support of sponsors

As Light to the Nations caters to such a large number of attendees the expenses continue to increase. The cost of hiring and setting up the giant marquee, the chairs, the altar, sound equipment, lighting and more all add up.  This is why Therese and her team rely on sponsors to help put on the event year after year.

More importantly, it enables those in difficult circumstances to come along and renew their commitment to Christ.

“Any kind of sponsorship, especially through CCI, enables young people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to come to Light to the Nations to attend free of charge,” Therese says.

“One family wrote to me and described how their daughter has a brain tumour and they were obviously putting all their money into her treatment. They really wanted to attend this year because they’d been to Light to the Nations before and it enriched their children’s lives. So they were able to come by means of sponsorship.”

New year, new event

While Therese and her team will now take a few months to unwind after a big 2019 event, she says they will aim to make next year’s even better.

“We are always trying to find new and dynamic ways to share the Easter liturgies in a way that speaks to young people.”

You can find out more about Light to the Nations on their website.

Interested to learn more about how we give back to the Catholic Community? Subscribe to our newsletter for more updates.