Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!  Oi, Oi, Oi!

        by Mary Rose 

Published in The Compass, May 8, 2009, vol. 4, issue 9

            “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8)

Every time I hear or read the World Youth Day theme, a flood of memories and laughs surge through my head! When ever anyone asks me “So how was Australia?” I enthusiastically reply “It was AWESOME!!  Australia was beautiful, I had the best group of friends and religious, Fr. Ward rocked, but the experience of WYD itself and seeing the Pope only a few feet in front of us, waving his hands and smiling, was just incredible to undergo spiritually!”

Who wouldn’t want to journey on a pilgrimage to the Land Down Under to see the Pope?!

From eating Kanga Bangas (kangaroo hot dogs) to camping out in the middle of a race track with half a million youth, the hilarity and spirituality was endless!

Before we left Melbourne for Sydney, we all were professionally taught how to play Aussie Rules Football, or more commonly known as Footy. This game was a riot! It’s a crazy mix of volleyball, soccer, basketball, and football!! And I know I am speaking for all of the Trailblazers, the Aussies really do rule!!

In the address of His Holiness Benedict XVI at the welcoming celebration by the young people, he says “What a delight it is to greet you here at Barangaroo, on the shores of the magnificent Sydney harbor, with its famous bridge and Opera House. Where ever we are from, we are here at last in Sydney.”

His Holiness took the words right out of everyone’s mouths. I remember walking to Barangaroo to the opening mass for the first time. I was struck by the sight of hundreds of young people walking in a huge crowd toward the same destination as far as the eye could see. The crowded streets surged with excitement and friendliness. Youths talked to other youths as if they had known them all their life and begged for signitures on everything! Our faith bonded us together in Christ.

After the opening mass, Cardinal Pell announced “The twenty-nineth World Youth Day has begun!” I can’t tell you how loud the roar from the crowd was! Everyone, including us, were jumping up and down, screaming and hugging saying over and over again, “It’s World Youth Day!!!”

I never imagined how important my nationality was until that first day at Barangaroo. The panic we went through when we realized that nobody had brought the flag! Thankfully the nuns, Sr. Pacis and Sr. Gemma, saved the day with their flag. We obtained two more in the course of the week and promptly sang the National Anthem in front of the entrance of the Sydney Opera House.

The most amazing thing for me was during the Vigil with the young people at Randwick Racecourse, when all the youths had lighted candles. I remember looking back when we were singing the WYD song and seeing a sea of lights just moving back and forth has far as the eye could see. I thought to myself “That is definitely the light of the Holy Spirit shining forth through the darkness and praising God forever and ever through these youths!”

From screaming “Bennie, Bennie, Bennie!” to “Viva el Papa!” the enthusiasm was endless!  I believe the Pope’s words best describe World Youth Day:

“It was not merely a mass event; it was above all a great celebration of faith, a human encounter in communion with Christ. We saw how faith opens borders, how it truly has an ability to unite the different cultures and that it creates joy. I am delighted to see many young people and to see them united in the desire for God and in the desire for a truly human world. World Youth Day creates a history, that is, friendships are formed, new inspirations are born. Through the Spirit’s action, may the young people who gathered together for World Youth Day have the courage to become saints! That is what the world needs more than anything else.”

Here in Australia, this “great south land of the Holy Spirit,” all of us have had an unforgettable experience of the Spirit’s presence and power in the beauty of nature. The gatherings at Barangaroo was a high point of my visit. Those experiences of prayer, and our joyful celebration of the Eucharist, were an eloquent testimony to the life-giving work of the Holy Spirit, present and active in the hearts of our young people. World Youth Day has shown us that the Church can rejoice in the young people of today and be filled with hope for the world of tomorrow.”

May God bless the people of Australia!!!”
 

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!  Oi, Oi, Oi!!

-Mary Rose 

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