Schools come together for 30th Performing Arts Festival to give thanks for God’s gifts
The 30th Catholic Performing Arts Festival began with a Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on 25 July and will conclude with a concert on 16 September. Photo: Ron Tan.
By Amanda Murthy
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB reminded those present for the 30th annual Performing Arts Festival Mass that the word “Eucharist” itself means “thanksgiving”.
He delivered this message during his homily at the opening Mass for the Catholic Performing Arts Festival (PAF) at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday 25 July.
The Perth Archbishop was joined by concelebrants Fr Peter Whitely VG and Fr Christopher Ross, who were assisted by Deacon Mark Powell.
“We are called. Let us come together with gratitude in our hearts,” Archbishop Costelloe acclaimed.
“We give our time, attention and talents to God during Mass as a way to thank God for giving us the gifts we have.
“We acknowledge [as the first reading reminds us] that the overwhelming power, the overwhelming beauty and the overwhelming creativity which will be on display during our festival and in our everyday life, comes from God and not from us.”
Some of the organisers of the 30th Catholic Performing Arts Festival opening Mass including CEWA Executive Director Dr Debra Sayce (second from left) at St Mary’s Cathedral on 25 July. Photo: Ron Tan.
The festival, spearheaded by Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA), gained participation from 111 of 162 Catholic schools from Perth, Bunbury, Geraldton, and Broome.
Welcoming the congregation, Archbishop Costelloe began his homily by explaining two “historic events of the first landing on the Moon”, which first transpired 50 years ago in 1969, then again three years later in 1972.
“Whether we are talking about the scientific brilliance of those people who were responsible for the Moon landing or about the creative brilliance which will be on display in this year’s [PAF], the opening words of today’s first reading can help us understand where our admiration and our gratitude should be directed – to the wonderful amazing things that human beings are able to accomplish.
“We are only earthenware vessels that hold this extraordinary treasure of creativity and intelligence to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us.”
Students from La Salle College participated in the 30th Catholic Performing Arts Festival opening proceedings by playing in the band for the opening procession at St Mary’s Cathedral on 25 July. Photo: Ron Tan.
Archbishop Costelloe spoke about his hopes for all participating in the festival this year and encouraged them to show their gratitude to God by receiving His gifts with love and using them to the full.
“My prayer for all of you involved the performing arts festival year is that the Lord will help you recognise in all that you do and in all that you experience, the wonderful goodness and generosity and love of God,” he expressed.
“It was this love and this goodness which brought you gave each one of you the unique and special gifts which make you the people you are.
“It was and it is this love and this goodness which will accompany you each day as you live this wonderful gift of life which is God’s most precious gift of all.
“The God who create the universe in all its wonder, is the same God who created you in all your wonder and made you the unique person that you are,” Archbishop Costelloe concluded.
Some of the participants for the 30th Catholic Performing Arts Festival held this year from 25 July to 16 September. This year there are 21,800 students involved in the festival. Photo: Ron Tan.
CEWA Executive Director Dr Debra Sayce marked the opening of the festival by thanking all involved during her speech at the conclusion of Mass.
“Catholic Arts was founded 30 years ago to support children and young people in our schools to discover their God-given talents to express their creativity and to provide them with a stage where our broader community can celebrate their efforts,” she cited.
“This year, we received 2878 entries and there are 21,800 students involved in this year’s event.
“It is wonderful that despite the geographic range our schools operate over so many of our staff and students can come together to celebrate performing arts in their lives,” Dr Sayce concluded.