Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Day 5 - As we prepare to leave Kiwi Paka and meet our host families

Paul Di Libero

Jesus is truly present with us.

Catherine Millette

This is truly the most amazing felling in the world. There are no words to explain how we feel and the beauty of the group that surrounds us. God bless you all!

Jessica Pereira

New Zealand is FANTASTIC! It's impossible to describe the beauty and the greenery and the magnificence that surrounds us every minute of every day. Though we cant describe entirely the beauty of it all, we are becoming more and more grateful to the Lord as each day passes, as we are taking it all in. The power, the glory, the love and the infinite grandeur of God is so apparent to us now as we are journeying together. Thank-you Lord Jesus Christ!!!

Fr. Gilles

Day 5 has been exhilarating for the whole group.... After our Spaghetti Bolognese with garden salad prepared by Franca, Mario, Louis, Laura, Helene, and a host of others, we opened up this blog and several contributed posts.... Then we were off for a good night's sleep and awoke to, believe it or not, -2 degrees Celsius!!!! Even the bus had frost on it. I've been finding it hard to recover from the throat irritation and both yesterday and now today the second half of the day I have increasingly difficulty to speak without coughing, a dry cough. Several have offered help with their various remedies....

We were off to an early start at 7:15 this morning with breakfast at McDonald's and then on to the Agrodome where we enjoyed a gift shop of various sheep and wool related items of clothing and souvenirs, and then a show demonstrating the 19 different varieties of sheep in New Zealand, sheep shearing, lamb bottle feeding, cow milking, and a demonstration of sheep dog talent.... It was really very informative and entertaining.

We went on from there to Rainbow Springs - a sort of zoological garden where we observed in a nature park the various animals, birds, trees, and plants native to New Zealand and a wonderful setup for various trout that come up to spawn. I've never seen such humongous trout up to 30 inches long and some 8 inches or more in height... and over 5 kilos I'm sure.... in a beautiful pool with great vantage point views at poolside and up above it....

We went back to the mall and the food court for lunch and then on to Skyline Skyrides and Gondola / Luges where we rode gondolas up to the top of a mountain, what a view, and three brave souls rode the Sky Swing, a ride taking them up 100 feet by cable and then they pulled the cord themselves and were dropped, swinging in a huge arc back and forth until they stopped.... breathtaking! Just about everyone rode little luges down the mountain and went back up for a couple more rides.... They all had a lot of fun, and of course several of the youth played Haki Sak, or however it's spelled, in groups up to 8 in a circle.... Whenever they have a few moments in between acitivity.... They're getting to be very agile and a second group has begun.

We had supper back at Kiwi Paka and then a Prayer Service, given that my voice has just about given out and I can't speak without coughing, and Divine Providence made this a wonderful opportunity for the youth to celebrate Evening Prayer and share their thoughts and feelings as the Lord spoke to them in the reading, Psalm, and Gospel of Jesus calming the storm. How very deeply these young adults and adolescents live their lives and faith, responding deeply to all that happens to the members of their families, to their friends, to school and work colleagues.... Some of them shared how they came to faith or to know the Lord, or how Jesus has comforted them, and how intensively they desire those they know and love to come to know Him and taste his consolation too....

They then prayed for all of these people they mentioned, for Pope Benedict who himself faces many obstacles in his way as he prepares to come to meet us in Sydney, for our host families preparing to receive us tomorrow, for all the other Catholic youth of the world preparing to come and for those unable, and for all Christian and other youth and all people facing the challenges of life in our time.... They also remembered with affection and gratitude our families, friends, and all the parishioners who have been so supportive and who are in spiritual communion with us in prayer and joyful anticipation of the grace the Lord is pouring out upon us all in these days of grace. Pope Benedict is praying for and anticipating that these World Youth Days will be for the young pilgrims and for the whole Church a new Pentecost for a renewed period of evangelization that more and more people in our world may come to know Jesus, accept Him as their Saviour, and love Him, and in this way come to know the joy, peace, and love we who believe in Him have come to know....

Well, off to bed... after we pack our bags for another early departure.... Please pray for us, and for me that I may recover my health and voice....

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