.- The Australian bishops have announced that next year's national Catholic youth festival will be held in Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia.
“I am proud that we are able to host the Festival in Adelaide in 2015, and I look forward to welcoming thousands of young people from around the country to our wonderful city to share in the Good News,” Archbishop Philip Wilson said Aug. 13.
The festival, which some 4,000 are expected to attend, will be held Dec. 3-5, and is themed “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“I am particularly excited about the theme for the Festival as it allows us to experience the journey of St Mary MacKillop here in Adelaide,” the city's shepherd added.
“Mary was a woman who in the face of many challenges, kept her heart pure and focused on Christ.”
St. Mary MacKillop was canonized in 2010 as the first Australian saint; she sounded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, and much of her apostolate was done in South Australia.
Adelaide is home to the Mary MacKillop Center and St. Joseph's Convent, the first home the saint established for her order.
The Catholic youth festival engages young people in “unique and contemporary celebrations in concerts, workshops, social events, forums, workshops and much more,” Jenny Brinkworth, director of Catholic Communications Adelaide, told CNA Aug 13.
The 2015 event will be the second Australian Catholic Youth Festival; the first was held in 2013 in Melbourne and drew more than 3,400 young people aged 14-25.
“After the success of the inaugural event in Melbourne and its impact across the country, the Australian Bishops have committed to repeating the Festival every three years into the future,” Bishop Anthony Fisher of Parramatta, the Australian bishops' youth delegate, stated Aug. 13.
“It is fantastic that we are able to hold the next Festival in Adelaide in 2015, and I invite all young people and their teachers and youth ministers from around Australia to make the pilgrimage to Adelaide.”
Josh Nash of the Adelaide archdiocese youth office said he was thrilled that the festival will be staged in Adelaide; commenting on the 2013 gathering in Melbourne, he said he had a “strong feeling of connectedness to all those who attended.”
The 2015 celebration will be coordinated by the Australian bishops' youth office, along with the Archdiocese of Adelaide and Catholic Education South Australia.
The Australian bishops' press office told CNA that in future months a “steering committee for the event will be established, along with campaigns for an official festival song, workshop presenters, and youth involvement.”