Oblate Youth Australia celebrates with the world
Apologies to all for the lack of information over the past couple of days. We have been celebrating the World Youth Day Vigil and Mass with over 1 million other pilgrims. These celebrations were immense in their size and powerful in their witness to the world.
Our journey to the Papal Celebration commenced with an “Advance Party” of Loretta, Tiffany and Fr Michael. Their task was to secure a place for the rest of the group who would arrive later. This was a monumental task given that many thousands were trying to do the same thing. Thanks to some aggressive diplomacy, the trio managed to find and secure a great spot. Eventually all of the members of the group arrived and we were able to relax into the evening vigil and Adoration.
The Pope welcomed each person individually and seemed genuinely moved by the tremendous reception he received from the youth of the world. He consistently reminded all of us that Jesus must be the focus of our life. He is the way, truth and life. After the Vigil we all settled in for the Sleep Out which turned out to be a rather cool but dry evening. The music that had earlier lifted our spirits now quietened and we tried to sleep.
Morning saw us prepare for the Mass. Pope Benedict the 16th led the Mass and encouraged the youth of the world to find time for God in their lives especially on the weekends where it can be easy to forget God in the midst of busy social lives. The conclusion of the Mass saw Sydney announced as the host of the next World Youth Day which we were all tremendously happy about. On our way out of the Mass venue we were proudly flying the highest Australian Flag in Marienfeld along with “Eugene” our blow-up Kangaroo. We were cheered by everyone and we really felt like stars.
This euphoria was met with the harsh reality of 1.3 million all trying to use the same public transport system. This was made more difficult because of a tremendous lack of appropriate organisation. What should have been a 2-3 hour return journey ended up being approx 11 hours. During this time the Pilgrimage Group really worked well together. This once again highlighted the great resilience and support existent in our community. After we were eventually picked up we made our way to Belgium where we have boarded a plane here to Rome. We have all arrived safely and have begun exploring the Eternal City, where around every corner is a new discovery. More memories of Rome will follow in the next few days.