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The following is a small selection of memories and congratulations, most being abbreviations of longer entries, which the young pilgrims gave in the form of a small notebook to Fr. Ward at the end of World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany.
This is my first WYD, and has been truly and inspiration and spiritual journey. Even from the retreats, it has been amazing. My spirituality and faith has grown and become stronger. Thank you for all of your kind words. Without knowing it perhaps you have touched my life. Thanks again!
This has been the best experience of my life. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity.
Fr. Paul, thank you for putting this group together and keeping it focused on the reason we came to Köln: to adore Christ.
Whew, this WYD was a blast! Not just because we were in Europe a good eight days but because never have I experienced such an amazing uplifting within my faith – if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here (or, have been in Germany, I should say). Many thank yous for blessing my rosary and lending an ear to listen to my experience at my first WYD.
Fr. Paul, I feel that I have grown I my faith as a direct result of this experience and I have you to thank for encouraging me to come along.
This awe inspiring experience of WYD has brought me closer to God than I have ever been.
This week has been an awesome experience and opportunity to renew and refresh my faith and prayer life.
Fr. Paul, Your words throughout the week, especially on the first day, have prepared me extremely well for my spiritual journey and encounter with the Holy Spirit.
You were always mindful to keep our minds and hearts in the right place. I hope I go to Sydney with Trailblazers, too!
Thank you for all the advice and forgiveness you’ve allowed God to show me through you. Thank you for showing me the truth about love.
Fr. Paul, I am in awe of the team you have assembled [meaning the young Trailblazers Volunteer Corps] and the holy people on this trip.
This trip was definitely the best time I’ve ever had in my life. Daily Mass was better than I ever thought it could be, and I grew in my faith here.
[There was one other priest, besides Fr. Ward, who attended, and some seminarians. One of the five seminarians in attendance wrote:] Thank you for helping me during this trip to strengthen my faith in God and to renew my vocation to the priesthood.
[Another seminarian:] Father, Thank you so much for your charity and giving me an opportunity to work with such wonderful people and to minister to so many young people.
[Another seminarian:] Padre, Thanks for including me in this. it has been highly rewarding on many levels and has served to strengthen my vocational conviction.
This was a once in a lifetime experience and I am proud to say I went with the Trailblazers!
This pilgrimage has touched our [the youth of our parish] hearts and will never be the same.
I regret that most of
what was written in that book is not replicated here, as the youth were
generous in heaping on praise, and some of it was, for them, personal; and for
that reason has been omitted. The above selections may convey some of the
flavor of the enthusiasm and spiritual fire alive in the hearts of the young
pilgrims at the conclusion of World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany.
- Fr. Ward