Semarang Archdiocese in Central Java, which will host the 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD), has held a concert to raise funds ahead of next year’s event in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta. The concert was one of several events being organized to raise money for the weeklong gathering to be held from July 30 to Aug. 6, 2017. Organizers hope to raise about US$1.5 million. Around 2,000 Catholics attended the "Joyful Concert for AYD" held at a hotel conference center on Sept 20. Christian singers and choirs as well as comedians and Sufi dancers from the Al-Islah Meteseh Islamic School in Tembalang were among the performers. The Indonesian version of the Asia Youth Day theme song, The Joy of Living The Gospel
, was also performed for the first time. "The Sufi dancers were invited to perform because it fits in with the gathering's theme which highlights multiculturalism," concert organizer Petrus Edy Susianto. "Joyful Asian Youth! Living The Gospel in Multicultural Asia" is the theme for next year’s event. Also at the concert were the bishops’ Commission for Youth chairman, Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi of Ketapang, and archdiocesan administrator Father Fransiskus Xaverius Sukendar Wignyosumarta. In a speech, Father Wignyosumarta thanked the Indonesian Church for supporting Asian Youth Day. "Young people bring us joy for the present and the future. So we are called to bring this joy to our own life," he said. Bishop Prapdi suggested the Yogyakarta gathering should be seen as a call for all youths to find the meaning of living with Jesus Christ. "AYD is a way to personally encounter Jesus Christ. Everyone should feel the joy brought by God," he said. Father Heribertus Budi Purwantoro, who heads the Yogyakarta organizing team, said at least 2,500 Catholic youths from 29 Asian countries are expected to take part. "Yogyakarta was chosen because it’s a multicultural town. It’s popularly known as ‘the city of culture,’ where religions and ethnics unite," he said.
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"It’s hoped more Catholics will take part in the preparations," he added, saying that a running event called Joyful Run involving around 15,000 youths will be held on Oct. 30 in Semarang. The Youth Desk of the FABC-Office of Laity and Family stages Asian Youth Day in cooperation with the Youth Commissions of the respective national bishop’s conferences. The 6th Asian Youth Day with the theme "Asian Youth! Wake Up!" was held in Korea in 2014.