The ‘New Pentecost” that Pope Benedict XVI was praying for in Australia as a result of World Youth Day has begun, with Faith on Tap successfully launched at the Pineapple Hotel at Kangaroo Point on August 11.
Launched by Justin Lynch, who was inspired by the wildly successful Theology on Tap sessions that draw up to 1000 a month at PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub in Parramatta, a crowd of young Catholics under 35 from across Brisbane and even Toowoomba and the Gold Coast to witness Faith on Tap.
More than 100 young people turned out to hear Jessica Aravena talk on her conversion story – from staying at the five star Ritz hotel in Paris to working as a Catholic missionary on university campuses in Poland.
The movement shows promising signs of further growth, with over 200 members having signed onto the event’s facebook page on the internet.
During her talk Jessica said she was personally inspired by Sydney Cardinal George Pell, who challenged youth not to sit on the fence to commit oneself to God in an active way during his homily at the WYD opening Mass at Barangaroo.
“It was as if he was speaking directly to me when he said ‘Don’t spend your life sitting on the fence, keeping your options open, because only commitments bring fulfillment’,” Jessica said.
“Happiness comes from meeting our obligations, doing our duty, especially in small matters and regularly, so we can rise to meet the harder challenges. Many have found their life’s calling at World Youth Days,” she said quoting Cardinal Pell again.
Jessica told the crowd how being on the other side of the world, away from her Catholic friends and living a five star lifestyle, bit by bit she dropped off her faith, stopped going to Mass, stopped praying and drifted away from the Church.
She emphasised the importance of good Catholic friends, and how events like FoT are a good place to make new Catholic friendships.
FoT organiser Allison Atkins said World Youth Day in Sydney showed that young people are willing to make the effort, to rise to the challenge.
“They don’t want the easy way out,” she said. “They are not afraid to be Catholic and they transformed Sydney during that week. We have every confidence that the ‘fire’ started in Sydney will really make a difference in Brisbane.
“Young people have a taste now for coming together, to think big and change culture. It’s exciting to know that it’s an opportunity right here, right now.
“This is only just the beginning – the Church in Australia is about to experience the fruits of a new Pentecost – in the words of Pope Benedict XVI himself, ‘to bring about a new generation of apostles, to bring the world to Christ’,” she continued. “WYD has given a whole new generation ‘permission’ to go for it with their faith, to be apostles, to preach the good news.”
Trevor Tibbertsma, 20, who MCed the event and also did a mission year last year with the Youth Mission Team, said: “It was such a great opportunity to be a part of an initiative born out of WYD to help get our Church more active.”
Anthony Goodwin from St Peter and St Pauls Balmoral said: “Faith on Tap was an exciting launch – way better then I expected. Jess’s managed to connect with everyone and the Pineapple Hotel was a perfect setting.
“I’m really looking forward to next months – it was really good to see a really good mix of young Catholics and have a great time in a friendly combination!”
New technology such as the Facebook and xt3.com websites helped in getting the word out. The Facebook site had over 200 members before the actual launch and helped to get the invites flowing.
“It was great for so many different groups to meet and mix, swapping ideas and future plans since their inspirational trips to WYD,” said Justin Lynch, one of the FoT organising team.
“Since going to Sydney many young people now feel empowered to put on new initiatives like FoT in a new and more encompassing way. WYD showed us that if you put on big events people will travel – even ‘to the end of the earth’.“
“We’re so delighted with the location at the Pineapple. A great atmosphere and they even agreed to host the night for free!”
FoT already have a plan rolled out for their next two speakers with a monk of the Order of St Paul, Fr Columbra, set to speak on “A Monk’s Life” and International Secretary of the World Congress of Families, Allan Carlson, from the US will be speaking in October on the topic: “Why Marry?”
Carlson is a published author on Catholic Family issues and is the International Secretary of the World Congress of Families.