Papal messages at the Randwick Racecourse

By 
  • July 21, 2008

For Sunday, July 20

SYDNEY, Australia - Last night, World Youth Day pilgrims fell asleep under a halo. There was a perfect circle of light around the moon and in that circle, there were no clouds, so the sky was darker in the circle around the moon than outside of the circle of light.

Ottawa pilgrims arrived at the Randwick Racecourse at noon yesterday to assure themselves space to sleep outside before having a vigil and adoration with the pope.

This morning, we celebrated Mass at 10 a.m. with his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. The pope went around the racetrack twice in the popemobile before going on the stage. He also confirmed some youth from around the world (mostly from the South Pacific).

This was the pope's message during the Mass: "I encourage you to open your hearts to the power of the Holy Spirit. Seek with the help of the Holy Spirit. In today's Gospel, Jesus proclaimed that the new age has begun. Live in a community of love embracing people of every nation and tongue. The power flows deep within us. Come to the Father - His love can change us from within."

We must love in action because Jesus is always present in our hearts.

"In Australia, let us thank God for the gift of faith," he said. "Let us thank witnesses like Mary MacKillop."

The pope asked us what we will leave to the next generation. Are we using the gift that we've been given?

"What difference will you make?" the pope said. "The Spirit can renew the world. The Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age. The world needs this renewal."

The church should always be young in the Spirit. "She has to grow in the power of the Spirit," he said. "Do not be afraid to say yes to Jesus."

Being baptised by the Holy Spirit means to be set on fire with love. "May each of us be renewed in the Spirit of knowledge and understanding," the pope said.

The pope did the confirmations and prayed that the power that we received at confirmation might be renewed and strengthened,

The next WYD has been announced at the end of the Mass. It will be in Madrid, Spain, in 2011.

Ottawa pilgrims walked to the central train station to take a train and then a bus to get to the Blue Mountains. The group is currently staying at the Hydro Majestic hotel in the Blue Mountains, hours outside of the city of Sydney for a short retreat before flying back home on Tuesday.

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