Getting to know our Australian hosts

By 
  • July 13, 2008

MELBOURNE, Australia - Australian and Canadian culture were central to the itinerary as both St. Kevin’s and Patrick parishes hosted a BBQ dinner in our honour yesterday evening. Prior to that, Toronto’s Archbishop Thomas Collins celebrated Mass for the World Youth Day pilgrims and both parishes at large.

Towards the end, a slideshow was put together and pilgrims were invited to the front of the altar for a special blessing.

During dinner, our Australian hosts entertained the crowd with local favourites such as, "Click go the Sheers," "Waltzing Matilda" and "Carra Barra Wirra Canna" (an Aboriginal name for "Little Lake with Lovely Name”) In addition, the Toronto delegation rocked to hits like those from the movie Sister Act and "If I had a million dollars."

Today’s activities were toned down much more compared to those from previous days. Toronto pilgrims spent the entire day with their host families. This morning, I travelled to the local football pitch to see my host “brother” play in a football game. His team won in a blowout of 108-3.
 
Afterwards, I met up with a few Toronto pilgrims who are housed the street over from me. We went out to the Healsville Sanctuary Park, about an hour or so outside of Melbourne.
 
I’d never thought that I could actually pet a kangaroo. Besides that, I had close-ups with a few koalas, cockatoos and emus.
 
When arriving back in Melbourne, my host family and I celebrated my other  host brother’s 14th birthday at an Italian restaurant nearby.

There seems to be a rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne. I was quick in establishing that as I first got into town.
 
“You'll only get the best chicken parmigan in Melbourne, not Sydney,” the waitress told us.
 
My WYD parents presented me with a hand crafted card and gift. Tonight is my last night with them before I head off to Sydney tomorrow for the official start of World Youth Day. I can’t wait!
 
To be honest, I’m not looking forward to leaving my family tomorrow morning. But as always in a pilgrimage, we must move forward.

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