Sydney Youth Day Rocks On

Celebrations Mark 1st Anniversary

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SYDNEY, Australia, JUNE 15, 2009 ( One year after World Youth Day, Sydney is preparing to celebrate the anniversary of Benedict XVI’s encounter with young people through a whole month of celebrations.

A press release from the Archdiocese of Sydney announced the events planned for a “blockbuster July.”

The U.S. singer Matt Maher will kick off the month with July 3-4 concerts.

Immediately after, July 5-11 there will be a week of conferences by Catholic apologist Tim Staples, an ex-Baptist and Pentecostal minister who found his way to the Church after meeting a fellow marine who challenged his faith.

Not only did he become Catholic, but he spent six years as a seminarian and earned a degree in philosophy. Staples discovered that his vocation was not to the priesthood, and upon leaving the seminary he dedicated himself to Catholic apologetics and evangelization.

He gives talks on issues such as: “Why Be Catholic,” “Back and White — Moral Clarity in a World of Grey,” “God or Allah? Islam through Christian Eyes,” “The Shocking Truth About The Pope” and “Nuts and Bolts — Answering the Top 10 Arguments Against the Catholic Church.”

The press release explained that this initiative responds to a message from young people in the “extensive research” after the youth day, that “they want to continue the experience of catechesis.”

It added, “They want to learn about their faith, understand the teachings of the Catholic Church and be equipped to share their faith and knowledge with others.”

Pub talk

In another event, the youth will visit Sydney’s pubs July 19-26 for a program called SCENE, which stands for Sydney Congress Embracing the New Evangelization.

This Catholic congress will include music, testimonies and talks in pubs around the city, bringing together “hundreds of young people” and “guests speakers tackling the really hot and controversial topics of the day.”

Auxiliary Bishop Julian Porteous of Sydney affirmed, “It is one thing to discuss key questions among ourselves as Catholics, it is another to go into the public forum and raise the issues that are current and important.”

He explained that the topics, which include “Are Condoms the Answer,” “Reclaiming Masculinity” and “What is Truth?” are “issues that occupy people’s daily conversation.”

“They are in the newspapers, on talk-back radio and the subject of many television programs,” the prelate noted. They are “debated in the workplace, university, social occasions and in society.”

He added, “Pub talks will provide young people with an informal and relaxed environment in which they can engage with the important questions that are currently ‘in the air.'”

That same week, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are sending a three-friar rock band from New Jersey for a Catholic Underground program July 18-24, which will include Mass, workshops and a holy hour.

These events are planned to bring back some of the memories of World Youth Day. Father Stan Fortuna, Franciscan rapper and the founder of Catholic Underground, appeared at the youth day, as did Matt Maher.

The month will also include family days, a vocations expo and evangelization in the streets.

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