Home' Aurora : Aurora September 2011 Contents 9
www.mn.catholic.org.au | Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle |
WYD MADRID 2011
and homes to strangers. It was in this
moment that I was reminded of what it is
to be Christian.
WYD Week 16 - 21 August
Madrid was alive with singing, chanting
pilgrims who dominated the city. Our first
stop was to join more than 3500 other
Australians for the official Australian
welcome at the Love and Life Centre.
I noticed people coming out of their shells,
oozing with pride as they celebrated their
faith. There were constant cheers of
"Aussie Aussie Aussie - Oi Oi Oi".
In the evening, I felt the intensity of
the crowd. Hundreds of thousands of
pilgrims took to the streets for the official
welcoming Mass. The different flags and
the variety of songs being proudly chanted
reminded me of the church's universality.
We may speak different languages and
come from different places, but we
were all there to be a part of something
On Wednesday we attended the first of our
catechesis sessions. We joined pilgrims
from America, Canada and Great Britain
and heard presentations from the Sisters
of Mercy and the Knights of Columbus.
The experience led to much conversation
and allowed us to become closer as we
shared our faith, concerns, questions,
fears and hopes.
On Thursday we set up camp at Retiro
Park and anxiously awaited the arrival of
Pope Benedict XVI. Information booths,
food stalls and temporary confessionals
were set up in the park. Most of us
managed to gain a glimpse of Pope
Benedict as the crowd erupted with cheers
when he did a quick drive-by before getting
out of his car to wave. Balloon doves were
released into the air when he drove off
and the crowd walked in harmony together
On Saturday we geared ourselves, with
three million others, for the most
anticipated WYD Weekend celebrations,
including an all night vigil attended by His
Holiness and a global sleep-out before the
papal Mass on Sunday morning.
As we walked to 'Cuatro Vientos', I
reminded myself, "I am a pilgrim not a
tourist", in scorching 40 degree heat.
Group leaders erected a large tarp where
we fanned ourselves and drank copious
amounts of water. It was too hot to do
anything but try to stay cool.
The Vigil began, the clouds turned
black and a huge storm came over. As
we hurried to protect ourselves and
our belongings, the crowd was still so
respectful. Afterwards, the rain allowed us
to enjoy a cool night's sleep and we slept
to the sounds of those celebrating what it
means to be Christian.
On Sunday we woke to a beautiful
day, those around us still singing and
celebrating life. As we packed up our
tents we excitedly awaited the arrival of
the Pope for Mass. We missed a good
glimpse, but were content to watch the
many screens, participating in the Mass
and taking in the moment.
Pope Benedict XVI said, "Dear young
people, I pray for you with heartfelt
affection. I ask you to pray for the
Pope, so that, as the Successor of Peter,
he may always confirm his brothers
and sisters in the faith. May all of us
in the Church, pastors and faithful
alike, draw closer to the Lord each day.
May we grow in holiness of life and be
effective witnesses to the truth that
Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God,
the Saviour of all mankind and the living
source of our hope."
Each member of our pilgrim group would
have walked away with different memories
and challenges, for ourselves and our
I was blown away by Bejar, where we were
welcomed into a small community, but felt
the universality of the church on such a
grand scale in Madrid. Both experiences
had long-lasting impacts. Again and
again I was reminded that I belong to a
community with a common belief in Jesus
Christ, proud to share with others the
joy of faith.
Thank you to all those who made the trip
possible: the Catholic Schools Office, the
Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and our
leaders Sue and Brian Morgan, Bernadette
Gibson and Fr Andrew Doohan.
The next WYD will be held in Rio de Janeiro
staff at the
oldest bull ring
Harry Gibson of
St Paul s Booragul
St James Muswellbrook
teachers Sarah Abrahamse
and Caitlin Folpp.
Official Australian welcome ceremony
A fireman cools
and Sue Morgan
Links Archive Aurora August 2011 Aurora October 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page