Thursday, July 17, 2008

Days 7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14 News of our WYD Pilgrims

Hello everyone! No, we didn't fall off the end of the Earth.... Last Thursday July 10th, our day 7, I spent several hours in the afternoon becoming familiar with the St Patrick Parish PC and tried to load up photos to Photobucket and my blog, and also to send you news.

Our hosts then offered us supper cocktails style, with volunteers passing among us with trays of various homemade or bought goodies, mostly hot, and a good time was had by all. For my part, I was not feeling so good, having started with a sore throat the day of our arrival and now having trouble speaking without coughing at the end of the day.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I spent Friday and Saturday morning recuperating at Dale and Dave Elliot. In the afternoon they drove me to the Cathedral where they joined us for a Mass I presided for our pilgrims. I then rejoined them for a visit to Kelly Taltons, an oceanarium with a history of Antarctic exploration. That night we all had dinner as usual with our host families except for the 8 of us at the Monastery. We were invited to go as two groups to two other families and then four of us and our family joined the other group and family to watch a rugby match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the South Africa Springbocks - well was that ever exciting. The Kiwis really take their rugby seriously and it as almost as loud with the 35 people in that living room as in the Canadians' forum!

Sunday we joined the Parish for their main 10 am Mass and our pilgrims sang a few songs with the local choir, who were very good! In the afternoon there was a pilgrim walk to Tyburn Monastery, where 8 of us were staying, and the Mothers received them with refreshments. Then we went to the chapel for a holy hour of prayer and adoration. It was meaningful and very touching. That night we all went out to Peter O'Connell's for a Farewell Bar-B-Q. When touching words were exchanged and also the next morning, heart swelled with emotion as both our youth and our hosts were reluctant to see these days come to an end, but of course they must and did.

Since Monday we have had very full days. We are staying at the Olympic Park in a sportplex called the Dome, sleeping on mats 18 inches apart on the sides and 6 feet apart at the head, with the feet on the aisles, with over 3000 other pilgrims!!!! We wouldn't have believed it when we arrives, but after full days of walking around from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm, we're glad to come back to our "Home Sweet Dome".

Tuesday we had the opening Mass presided by Cardinal Pell. Yesterday and today and again tomorrow (Friday) morning we along with Transfiguration and Holy Name of Jesus are animating the morning catecheses given by a different bishop each day. Our youth are having a blast getting 2 to 3000 pilgrims singing in another sport arena... One of the most exciting, moving and draining experiences of these days is marching up boulevards closed to traffic immersed in a sea of tens of thousands of other pilgrims travelling in groups like schools of fish, carrying flags and chanting in their own languages....

I'm about to run out of dollar coins and time and I'll take it to the max....

Some of us have had scratchy throats and today we descended on a 'chemist' - what they call a pharmacy - and scooped up remedies and lozenges... Don't worry parents, we are taking good care of your youth. They aren't much different with us as they are with you.... We look forward to all having internet access and sending longer messages. God bless you and until next time...

Today we got to see Benny!!!

Pax + Caritas

Fr. Gilles

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