19 December 2019

Faith Matters - Appellation

Article by Mr Brendan Nicholls

Faith Matters - Appellation

The school year has ended, holidays have begun and we now patiently await the birth of our Saviour. For fifteen of us the last week of the school year found us in Perth as we attended the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF). The aim of the festival was to “provide young people with the opportunities to deepen their relationship with Jesus, be empowered to be disciples in the world today and encounter and celebrate the vitality of the Church in Australia”. Our experience of ACYF was certainty an achievement of this aim.

The Australian Catholic Youth Festival was founded by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in 2013. It is held every two years and to date has been held in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Perth. The festival in Perth was attended by over 6000 young people from across Australia. ACYF consists of numerous musicians and musical acts, faith and prayer experiences, an enormous exhibition area, food and workshops. The festival is diverse in every way. From faith experiences to the attendees there is more than you can hope to encounter.

The theme of ACYF19 was “listen to what the Spirit is saying”. This theme is indicative of the openness of our local Church and the processes of the Plenary Council. The festival encouraged the young people to explore how the Spirit moves within and guides them. Exploring how they experience God in their day and how to they discern their vocation and mission.

Saint Ignatius College sent fifteen pilgrims to Perth: Eleven students, three staff and our Chaplin. The students were an even mix of males and females from Years 10 and 11. The teachers were Ms Alicia Deak, Ms Kate Kearney and Mr Brendan Nicholls. Our Chaplin Fr James Puppady supported both the staff and the students throughout. Our group was indicative of others consisting of a variety of students with different interests, skills and varying or no connection with their local parishes.

The initial and ongoing observation of ACYF is that it was different to what was expected. It was better than had been hoped for and any stereotype that might be considered did not hold up. It was truly Catholic but so diverse that there was unity in three key points. The first being youth. The title the festival was for and of young people. With 6000 coming from every diocese in Australia. We met people young people from Thursday Island to Hobart and everywhere in-between!

The second being Catholic. Although the music, workshops and experiences varied considerably ACYF was truly Catholic, and in this diversity there was a completeness that is missing in many parishes. We were blessed to have the bishops of Australia attend and I was amazed by their humble nature and commitment to listening to and engaging with the youth.

The third unifying point was Jesus. Whether in the music, experiences, friendships of in 6000 people kneeling in silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament the presence of Jesus was everywhere.

The transformation I saw in all who attended was amazing and illustrated in a name. Throughout the event Jesus was announced, spoken of and acknowledged. This was not a ‘Ned Flanders’ convention, nor was it revivalist, but it allowed and enabled the participants in naming Jesus. In our culture we often we speak of the Spirit, God or love. What we lose in not speaking of Jesus is a specificity in which we belong. In our community we speak of Jesus during Easter and Advent, throughout the rest of the year we substitute and at times substitute his name for something more abstract or soft.

If the name Jesus is a little jarring there are many other names or appellations we can use to name Jesus in an alternate way. As we await his birth and consider this insight from ACYF the following Advent lyrics might offer a suitable contemplation.

His Name is Wonderful

Come see the baby

Crib for a bed

His mother Mary

Lay down His sweet head

The starlight was shining

The wise men were led

Come see the baby

And worship Him

His name is wonderful, counsellor

Mighty God, Prince of Peace

Everlasting Father

Holy One, Son of God

Saviour of the world

Come and adore Him

On bended knee

He came to ransom

Someone like me

What could I offer

What could I bring

Come and adore Him

King of Kings


And the greatness of His reign

Will never end

Let there be peace on Earth

And all goodwill to men

Come let us worship Him

His name is wonderful, counsellor

Mighty God, Prince of Peace

Everlasting Father


(You’re the) Holy One, Son of God

Saviour of the world

Chris Tomlin 2019

As we reflect upon ACYF and the season of Advent we can be inspired of the bold nature of our young people and use Jesus’ name more often. Once Advent and Christmas is over consider how you might proclaim your faith more publically and how often will you use the name Jesus? If he is alive in the world we must use his name and have courage. Being countercultural is at the heart of youth. Be inspired by our young people who will use the name Jesus, break down barriers, find new paths and lead us as a community to a better future. If we cannot do as they do we can follow them when they show us the way.

I wish you a blessed Advent and Christmas and pray that the time spent with family and loved ones nourishes your soul.

Yours in Christ,

Brendan Nicholls Religious Education and Liturgy Coordinator