Canadians visit Kiwis

  • July 10, 2008

AUCKLAND, NZ - Ottawa and Winnipeg pilgrims - including Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, priests, and deacons - arrived at St. Thomas More parish in Auckland, New Zealand for a welcoming breakfast at 7:30 a.m., shortly after roughly 20 hours in the air. Pilgrims were assigned to their host families and spent most of the morning with them.

From 11 a.m. to 12:24 p.m., pilgrims (yes, even the archbishop) cut bamboo sticks and planted trees. We were free to explore the city of Auckland all afternoon.

Pilgrims Michael Near, my brother Joel and I went up Mount Victoria in the Devonport sector of Auckland and met up with other participants from Ottawa. We could see Waitemata harbour with a bird's eye view of Auckland.

Following this outing, at 3 p.m., we walked down Takapuna beach until 3:45 p.m. We had dinner with our host families and went to St. Thomas More parish for adoration at 7 p.m. and Mass at 7:30 p.m. It was cold in the church because there is no central heating in New Zealand and it is currently winter here. Everyone sang "Lord I Lift Your Name on High" when the youth band lead the procession. There were no kneelers, so almost everyone sat in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

A Kiwi (the slang term for a New Zealander) told the congregation that we need to allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit so that we can be witnesses to the world.

Archbishop Prendergast celebrated the Mass with the clergy that accompanied him to Auckland from Canada. "The Lord has a special love for us," the archbishop said. "God is always compassion and love. We are called to experience this love in our own personal life," he added.

Archbishop Prendergast believes that God allows things to happen to us for our good, even when the situation seems hopeless. He's going to World Youth Day (WYD) with anticipation.

"After nine years in Halifax, the Holy Father moved me. After my first year in Ottawa, I feel that God wants to move me with His Holy Spirit," shared the archbishop. He asked for our prayers.

"We need to allow the Holy Spirit to move in us," concluded the archbishop. "Let's pray for each other".

After the Mass, all of the pilgrims and host families went to the hall for traditional Kiwi desserts and refreshments. Participants from Sweden sang grace in their native tongue.

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