As the beginning of summer approached, hundreds of young Catholics from across the Archdiocese of Melbourne came together at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Thursday 30 November to pray and celebrate the end of the year.

Archbishop Peter A Comensoli led a time of prayer and adoration at Six30 Holy Hour in St Patrick’s Cathedral. For more than 20 years, young people have gathered at the Cathedral on Thursday evenings for an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. This year has also seen a marked growth in the number of regular attendees as the impact of COVID-19 has waned.

As the day coincided with the feast of St Andrew, the gospel reading focused on the call of the first disciples, including Andrew, who then brought Simon Peter to Jesus.

Archbishop Comensoli gave a reflection in which he explored how the first disciples were called by Jesus, mirroring the way that Jesus encounters us. ‘To meet Jesus is to be met by him,’ he said. ‘A meeting with Jesus is always firstly invitational.

Jesus’ invitation, ‘Come and see’, he said, is ‘simple yet gracious’, an ‘uncomplicated’ encouragement to share his life. ‘There is no test to be passed, no task first to be undertaken. The invitation was a free gift—we call that “grace”.’

‘There is a lot seeing involved in meeting Jesus,’ he pointed out, recounting how Andrew went looking for Jesus, who saw him and called him, prompting Andrew to go looking for his brother Simon, who upon seeing Jesus also follows his call. ‘So, there is something about seeing Jesus. I don’t mean just passing-by looking. Seeing Jesus … is an attentiveness, a gazing, a looking that is teachable … People who saw Jesus in this way changed.

‘We walk by faith, knowing that joyful grace is our way of experiencing the presence of Jesus.’

To meet Jesus is to be met by him. A meeting with Jesus is always firstly invitational.

The music for Holy Hour was provided by a small choir that has formed and grown over the last several months.

The time of adoration was followed by a generous barbecue and continuous live music in the grounds of the Cathedral. While the weather was not kind to those who had gathered, the intermittent rain did not spoil the festivities. As Fr Nicholas Pearce, Senior Chaplain for Youth, Young Adults and Campus Ministry, said, ‘Not even a wet and deary Melbourne spring night could dampen the spirit of the young adults of Melbourne gathered from all the corners of the Archdiocese.’

A cross-section of young people from across the Archdiocese were represented, including from various communities, movements, schools and parish youth groups. Many of these young people had been among the pilgrims who journeyed with 600 Melbournians to World Youth Day in Lisbon in August this year.

Not even a wet and deary Melbourne spring night could dampen the spirit of the young adults of Melbourne

The celebrations continued into the night as people danced and continued their conversations, sheltering under the iconic Cathedral trees. The night even concluded with a conga line.

Fr Pearce said, ‘One young priest present said he hadn’t seen anything like this in over 20 years!’

SummerFest and Six30 Holy Hour are initiatives of Proclaim: The Office for Mission Renewal.

The final Six30 Holy Hour will be held at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Thursday 14 December at 6.30pm.