The trek to Randwick and Vigil

  • July 21, 2008

For Saturday, July 19

SYDNEY, Australia - Many pilgrims at Randwick thought I was crazy for wearing just a t-shirt and pair of pants outside. But after realizing that temperatures weren't that balmy, I drew out a sweater and an extra pair of socks just before I called it a night after the vigil.

During the evening, pilgrims lit up the entire racecourse with candles which was quite something to see. Many were exhausted after the long walk so they hoped that they would get a good night's rest.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. I woke up many times during the night but managed to get six hours of sleep in the end. That's better than most pilgrims I chatted with. Many were found playing cards and football.

How it started

Earlier in the evening, Pope Benedict XVI arrived and made his way around the Randwick Racecourse to preside over the evening vigil.

The atmosphere was incredible. Hundreds of thousands of WYD pilgrims were packed into Randwick to participate in the beginning of the end for the 23rd World Youth Day.

Pilgrims from all over had flocked to the Sydney Harbour Bridge as early as 5:30 a.m. to make the trek to Randwick. Our group cheated and did half of the route as we decided to save up our energy for the various activities taking place later on. As we left, streets were flooded with people. We made our way up a steep hill for about half a kilometer, which was brutal to say the least.

Carrying a backpack and a sleeping bag while dragging along a piece of luggage made the task a lot more daunting. But as I came to think about Christ and the pilgrimage to the cross that he made on Good Friday, I had no right to complain.

As soon as I got to Randwick, I was happy as ever. I set up my sleeping quarters and prepped myself spiritually for the night's events. I was able to trade away the last of my pins that I had received from my member of parliament.

When I come to think of it, the race to Randwick wasn't bad at all. However, the trek back into the city was a completely different story!

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