Organisers of the Aotearoa Catholic Youth Festival are asking people to invest in the spirituality of young people by sponsoring their participation in this national event to be held on December 2-3.

Twenty-two-year-old Ramona Cortes, a member of the organising committee, said this “is not an event to be missed”.

“The festival is an awesome opportunity for young people of the whole Aotearoa New Zealand to encounter God, encounter the Church, as well as other young people,” she said, “to experience the fullness of their faith and how they’re called to live this (faith) out their whole lives and not just certain aspects of it.”

She said it will sow “this idea of active participation in the wider Church but also in their own parishes in their communities”.

Miss Cortes admitted that at $95 per person, the registration is “a little bit pricey”, especially as it is aimed towards young people aged 15-29.

Which is why, she said, those who have the ability to sponsor young people are encouraged to help out.

“It is an investment in a young person’s spiritual future and I guess also an investment in the Church of today. A huge way (to build up the Church) would be to build up the young people,” she said.

The festival is hosted by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference’s Council for Young People. Many of the bishops will also be at the festival.

The highlight of the event will be a concert featuring an internationally recognised musician and global phenomenon in contemporary Christian music, Matt Maher.

Apart from Mr Maher’s concert, there will be keynote/plenary sessions, 20 different workshops with a range of topics and speakers and an exposition of different groups and organisations related to the Catholic Faith.

Auckland Youth and Young Adult Ministry team leader Teresa McNamara said a lot of schools have indicated that many young people would like to participate in the event.

“The reality is a lot of the young people we know who want to be active in their faith communities, their families don’t have the kind of money to put towards the festival. So we put together an invitation for people to support young people by providing sponsorship,” she said.

The donations will go to the Catholic Development Fund of Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn. “That means all donations will be tax deductible,” Ms McNamara said.

“People who are adults now who perhaps went to a Catholic school, could consider donating so a student who is currently at the college that they went to can attend,” she added.

Registration will close by early November. The festival will take place in St Mary’s College at St Marys Bay and the concert will be at the Victory Convention Centre, Freemans Bay, Auckland.

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