Friday, July 04, 2008

Greetings from Auckland, New Zealand! All is well!

Joyful greetings from our 40 + 4 from the Chinese Catholic Mission of Montreal + Isabel Correa and Laura Ieraci who have joined us at Kiwi International Hostel....

It's an amazing experience to lose a day in one's life.... as we crossed the International Date Line it was suddenly Friday morning.... what happened to Thursday? This has been my most amazing anniversary of ordination ever... riding the waves of excitement of all our pilgrims... 25 years ago I was ordained a priest and celebrated my first Mass at St. Kevin Parish.

Our first obstacle turned into a blessing... the way our agent Spirit Tours booked our flight we had no assigned seats whereas all the other passengers did, so in effect Air Canada was oversold by 40 seats - we were now 44 as we were joined by four youth from the Chinese Catholic mission of Montreal. So the airline offered us 25 seats in executive class... our adults and a few youth had the opportunity to stretch their legs and get a little more attention and care, but we looked in on our younger pilgrims and everyone had enjoyable flights from Montreal to Toronto, a fun wait and then another flight to Vancouver, rather than our original direct flight.

All was well and we had time to spare to board our long flight for New Zealand. We had good meals all the way, but of course some of our "growing" pilgrims managed enough appetite to find other things to eat along the way. As you will see from the photos, we are off to a great start. The travelling was rather long, but most managed some rest. We started off with a bang in Auckland by going to visit the Sky Tower (we skipped the NZ$220 Sky Jump bungee cord thing...) had a snack from a corner store, went to visit Mt Eden, the most prominent extinct volcano (the city is build on dozens of these little cone-topped grass covered hills) where there was a breeze that my 59 year old bones found chilling but the youth enjoyed. Then we visited a park with a beach on the Sea (Tasmanian or Pacific, I don't remember) and we finally came and settled into our rooms at the hostel, two by two.

We went strolling along these fascinating downtown streets and found a few places to have a late lunch - some of our youth went for Subways, others for a Pizza place, and the rest of us found a vegetarian Indian place where a most satisfying meal was only $6. Now I'm uploading photos to Photobucket while all around me there is a buzz of chatting and guitar tuning... We are going to have a music practice to limber up for the catecheses we will be animating for a rather large crowd of youth for three mornings in Sydney in a few weeks, then we're off to join the local Benedictine parish for the regular 5:45 Mass. We called ahead and asked if they could allow us room to celebrate Mass and it turns out they will be very happy to have us join them for the regular Mass.

All the pilgrims are deeply aware of your loving support, prayers, and love, and we carry all of you in our minds, memories, hearts, and souls, and lift up your intentions and those of all whom you love and/or carry in your hearts.... May we all be a leaven of God's love in our world in which so many people are seeking for a greater purpose and meaning for their lives. We pray that they will come to meet Jesus as Simon and Saul did, and the encounter so changed them they changed their names to Peter and Paul....

Open your arms and hearts to receive 44 hugs and kisses....

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:24 PM

    Thank you for keeping us back home up to date on your travels! Wish I were there