DAY #10: 7/20/08 - Sydney, Australia
A whole night outside in the Australian winter is actually a lot rougher than it seems. Waking up damp and very cold was not the most pleasant way to wake. We had breakfast from what was left from the box of food from the night before. For most it was some bread and jam or marmalade. We had morning prayer lead by the Schola from the seminary and then we had some time to wait before Mass with the Holy Father. Some napped some more and some started getting warmed up again. As the Holy Father approached the altar for Mass, a number of us got to see him again as he drove by. He was very close again, but not as close as when he first arrived at the harbor. It was a mad rush to get back to our section for the start of Mass.
Mass was quite solemn, but at the same time incorporated aborigine culture, along with cultures and languages from all over the world. We had a considerably clear view of the altar with the exception of a certain Canadian flag. It was a powerful experience to celebrate Holy Mass with the Vicar of Christ. It was amazing to see the universal Church celebrate Mass together with our head here on earth.
In his homily, Benedict XVI asked us to continue praying and to pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He explained the great need for a new Pentecost in the Church and how important the youth are in this renewal. He told us that we need to use our gifts for the world.
Contemplating on the thanks given to Benedict XVI by Cardinal Pell for coming and celebrating with the thousands of youth, it was interesting to think about how much Benedict really loves us otherwise he would not have continued these World Youth Days. Even further thought brought about mediation on how much God loves us in not leaving us alone, but giving us a Holy Father to guide us in our faith and to the truth.
After Mass and the messages to the individual countries, His Holiness announced that the World Youth Day for 2011 will be held in Madrid, Spain. It was quite the experience once everything was over. There was music from all over the world as pilgrims left to return to where they came from. We stuck around for a while had some lunch from what was left in our box of food. We packed things up and went about to make some last minute trades among the remaining pilgrims.
Our pilgrimage out was far more draining than imagined. We had to wait to actually leave the racecourse because there were still so many people trying to get out to the main road. There were people from countries all over the world walking side by side. Most of our trip this time was downhill, but we still had some difficulties figuring out what direction we were supposed to go to get the hotel again. Once we arrived, it was time to shower off the dust and dirt accumulated and have a small group meeting to discuss the previous days events and wait two hours before we could eat dinner. We are all very exhausted and wiped and ready for a good night’s sleep. Hope that home is still warm and ready with food besides tuna ready and waiting for us to come home.
The St. Margaret Mary WYD Pilgrims