Youth Speak News

Cheers erupted from the Sydney, Australia field as each name was read. Twenty-four Catholics from across Australia and the world were announced one by one as they approached the stage to be Confirmed. Giant screens and loudspeakers broadcasted the venue to the crowd of 400,000 pilgrims at Randwick Racecourse.

Conducting the Masses for God


{mosimage}TORONTO - With his back to the congregation, waving his arms to keep the choir synchronized, it’s difficult to tell that Matthew Otto is merely 22. More surprising is the fact he is also the director of music, overseeing musicians for all the Masses at the Newman Centre’s St. Thomas Aquinas Church.

Motherhood discrimination


I was reflecting upon the societal value of motherhood at the United Nations during the Convention for Elimination against Discrimination of Women, held in New York in July.

WYD: a movement for justice and the common good


SYDNEY, Australia - As I got up this morning, I realized that not only was I leaving tomorrow but I hadn't started packing. Earlier this week, I happened to tear a fairly big hole in my suitcase which had me debating whether or not to buy a new one. I thought I would be in trouble, but with the help of a luggage strap and duct tape, I should be fine for the flight.

Channelling the WYD spirit in Midland


{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


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


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


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


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


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


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.