Attending ACYF 2017 was such a rich experience for me. There were many powerful moments over the three days, but the highlight of the Festival for me was JOY. There was so much joy in the young people I was meeting – the joy of being able to share their faith, of being listened to, of participating in such enriching experiences, and of meeting other young Catholics from many different areas and backgrounds. Their joy became my joy too.
I had the privilege of speaking with many young people throughout the Festival. They shared their stories, hopes and dreams with me, and I heard over and over again how much they valued being in this comfortable space where “having faith” or “being Catholic” isn’t uncool or something to be laughed at, but a rich gift to be embraced and nurtured. I could see that many of them were feeling more empowered and encouraged to simply be themselves: Catholic youth!
The experience of ACYF is definitely something I want to share beyond myself. Several people said at the Festival how much they appreciated our sisters’ joyful presence and interest in them. Making the time to show young Catholics that we are for them and we care, and opening our hearts and our homes to families and youth for encounter, prayer and fellowship, are perhaps ways in which we can continue the spirit and open new horizons to spread the joy of faith. Ultimately, the simplest and the most important thing we can do for our young people is pray for them every day.
Sr Sophie Boffa