Propose, don't impose

  • July 21, 2008

For Wednesday, July 16

SYDNEY, Australia - Morning catechesis at 9 a.m. began with praise and worship songs at St. Philip Neri church. There was the sacrament of Reconciliation from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. We started by playing a game to get to know everyone.

After that, Katherine Church, an Ottawa pilgrim, gave her testimony and talked about the World Youth Day cross travelling in Canada before WYD in Toronto (2002). She had given a monologue in Ottawa, dressed in a nun's habit. She only decided to go to Toronto for WYD after that. She realized that the pope's cross, the youth cross, saved her life.

Melissa Delaney and Katherine Church poured a glass of milk, put powdered chocolate in it, stirred it and explained the chocolate milk analogy: the chocolate represents the Holy Spirit in us and we have to stir it by praying.

Bishop Christopher Prowse from Melbourne welcomed us to his country. He read us a 1,000-year-old prayer in English (translated from Latin). It's a very ancient prayer and it describes who the Holy Spirit is.

"The Holy Spirit is radiant light . . . the comforter of the poor . . . it consoles us . . . it washes away what is dirty . . . it heals the wounded heart . . . it gives rewards of virtue and salvation and it gives eternal joy," Bishop Prowse said.

The Holy Spirit stirs us up. "It gives you energy," he added. "We say that the Holy Spirit is the sanctifier; it gives us holiness."

The bishop described the common signs of the Holy Spirit which are breath, water, fire, cloud and light, a hand, a finger, a dove and a seal (that you put on an official document).

The Spirit is meant to be shared. "God's love sends us out. It's not introverted, it's extraverted. The woman at the well doesn't keep it (the Spirit) to herself," the bishop said.

We must let the Spirit shine in us. "We Catholics don't impose, we propose. We go around full of joy. Drink deeply," he said.

Christianity is a religion of encounter. No other religion involves a personal relationship with God. "When you encounter love, you want to share it," the bishop said. "The great thing about Christianity is that you can always come back. There's no depth. You can always go deeper with Jesus."

Joy and hope are the main characteristics - not fear. Gifts of the Holy Spirit help us serve.

We then went to St. Mary's Cathedral but couldn't bring our bags into the church because the pope is visiting it tomorrow. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati's body is in this church which is wonderful for youth to visit during WYD.

After having visited the cathedral, the Ottawa group of pligrims and clergy played human checkers near the cathedral. Amanda Walsh and I collected everyone's meal tickets and got dinner for the group. After dinner, some of us walked to St. Brigid's church for a Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) adoration night called "the Summit," while others went to see Christopher West give a talk on the theology of the body (first session out of three in Sydney).

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