Youth Speak News

{mosimage}MIDLAND, Ont. - As 400 young pilgrims packed the historic Martyrs’ Shrine church, outside the thunder rolled, the rain poured and lightning zigzagged across the sky. Wind from two open doors ruffled the altar cloths providing the only relief in the hot and humid air.

It was close to midnight, July 17, and high school and university-aged pilgrims attending the Ontario Regional World Youth Day event were supposed to be watching footage of the Pope’s arrival in Sydney, Australia, via a large outdoor screen by the Shrine grounds’ main stage. Instead, they were praying the rosary, sharing stories and singing praises to God.

The trek to Randwick and Vigil

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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.

Papal messages at the Randwick Racecourse

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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.

The Call

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For Friday, July 18

SYDNEY, Australia - Ottawa pilgrim Melissa Delaney shared her personal testimony with us. She talked about how she would run away when she felt called by God. She had everything figured out for herself and she didn't want to give her life over to God. She wanted control and filled the void with relationships, drugs and alcohol and quickly became addicted.

Propose, don't impose

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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.

Toronto pilgrims watch Pope's arrival

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SYDNEY, Australia - When heading out of the hostel early this morning, I could tell right away that something would be different about today. There was a buzz, to be precise. Police officers and city officials were prepping for Pope Benedict's official arrival here in Sydney. Streets were filled with pilgrims who continually shouted slogans such as "B-e-n-e-d-i-c-t-o."

Becoming attached to Australia

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For Wednesday July 16, 2008

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - Today was the first day that I felt fully adjusted to the time change. I got up and was ready for what the day had to throw at me. Our days have been packed solid with many different activities. If you don't get a good night's rest, it's guaranteed you'll struggle the next day. Come to think of it, I should catch up on some sleep with it being 2 a.m., Friday morning here in Sydney.

WYD officially begins

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SYDNEY, Australia - The Toronto delegation finally landed in Sydney yesterday -- two hours past  our expected arrival time. We had decided to leave early because our group heard that the Melbourne Airport was busy with the many pilgrims scrambling to get to Sydney.

Ottawa and Winnipeg pilgrims fly to Melbourne and bus to Sydney

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Sydney, Australia - Ottawa and Winnipeg pilgrims slept at St. Thomas More parish in Auckland (NZ) last night and left the church at 3:45 a.m. to go to the airport. They had Mass at 5:30 a.m. at the airport, before leaving Auckland at 7:40 a.m.

Getting to know our Australian hosts

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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.

Kia Ora!

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Auckland, NZ - Kia Ora is Maori for "hello" or "greetings." Maori is New Zealand (NZ)'s native tongue. At 10 a.m., pilgrims from Ottawa, Winnipeg, Sweden, and Atlanta visited "Te Waiariki" - a Maori community building constructed in 1977 which means "the waters of baptism."