From 25 to 28 April 2024, more than 700 people gathered each day at Belgrave Heights Convention Centre to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Jesus Youth in Australia.

The national conference—which had the theme ‘Yes Lord’—featured speakers from the United States, New Zealand, India and Melbourne as they gathered for liturgies, praise rallies and workshops on a variety of topics.

On Friday 26 April, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli celebrated Mass in a packed-out auditorium for the feast of St Mark the Evangelist, where he encouraged everyone to ‘Know that Christ stands behind you and walks with you. In his name we are saved.’

Jesus Youth is an International Association within the Catholic Church with a focus on evangelising young people and nurturing their missionary initiatives. It is active in more than 30 different countries.

The disciples first received the Great Commandment, so as to then be able to take up the Great Commission.

Originating in Kerala, India, Jesus Youth grew out of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal as an initiative driven by young people wanting to network, be formed in the faith and serve Christ.

The movement landed in Australia in 2004 in Dandenong, Melbourne, with gatherings organised at St Gerard’s Catholic Church. With the support and spiritual patronage of Archbishop Christopher Prowse DD STD—who celebrated Mass for the opening of the conference—Jesus Youth Australia grew even more. Now it is active in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Canberra as well.

Over the conference weekend, they also announced the formation of the National Council for Jesus Youth Australia, which will oversee more national initiatives.

Now it is our time to be re-ignited in faith.

During his homily for Mass, Archbishop Comensoli reflected on ‘the two great things’ Jesus left his disciples: the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

‘But note: the disciples first received the Great Commandment, so as to then be able to take up the Great Commission,’ he said. ‘This is the same for us, Jesus’ disciples today. Now it is our time to be re-ignited in faith, by being empowered through a fresh outpouring of the love of God, so as to spread the Good News of hope.

‘I want to assure you, friends—as Peter assured his listeners—that you are the recipients of the great love of God, through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus. He so loved us that he gave his life for us … And so, in this love, we can receive the courage to be commissioned as missionaries of this love.

‘Friends, the Lord has given these gifts to us all, his great Commandment and the great Commission,’ he said. ‘Our common task is to allow them to permeate our lives.’