Melbourne man John Smyth, 27, has brought to life theology, friendship, food and a drink or two with Theology at the Pub, a project modelled on the successful Sydney-based Theology on Tap.
For most young pilgrims, World Youth Day 2008 was the experience of a lifetime. It was an opportunity for them to be part of a Universal Church and to be part of the festivities, celebrations, prayer, and learning that all form part of the WYD experience. But after all the mayhem and high spirits, the question now on everyone’s mind is: “where to from here?” The physical pilgrimage to Sydney may be over, but the spiritual pilgrimage of young people continues.
The atmosphere in the room was of joyful reminiscence as over drinks and nibbles about 100 of the 400-plus volunteers for Days in the Dioceses gathered to reflect on their experience during DID08. Some of them even dressed in their distinctive red uniforms, complete with what appeared to be home-made name badges. DID08 was over but the memories of an unforgettable Melbourne week lived on.
Archbishop Hart announces new Archdiocesan Office for Youth. For most young people, World Youth Day 2008 was the experience of a lifetime, exceeding all possible expectations. But after all the mayhem and high spirits, the question now on everyone’s mind is ‘where to from here?’
“A pilgrimage is a journey, a journey both within and beyond. It is a journey of faith, a journey of learning, a journey of hospitality, a journey of unity, a journey of relationships, a journey to sacred places, a journey of justice.”
Imagine hundreds of thousands of youth from all over the globe filling the streets of Sydney for an event bigger than the 2000 Olympics. Naturally, the words we would think of to describe such an event would be ‘riot’, ‘chaos’, ‘havoc’ and ‘trouble’. Such was, however, far from the truth during the World Youth Day celebrations of 2008. Rather, there was truly a sense of joy and celebration as the young people of the world shared their faith, cultures and traditions.
Volume 19, Issue 15
Pope Benedict XVI has thanked Australian parishes, school communities and individuals for their roles in making World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney a success.
The International Liturgy Group of World Youth Day 2008, composed of 142 young representatives from 59 countries throughout the world, met together in Sydney from 12-21 July. In addition to participating prominently in the liturgies and events of World Youth Day, the group spent time together in prayer, discussion, and fellowship. The following letter was collectively composed by its members.
Volume 19, Issue 13-14
One of the most striking features of the Days in the Dioceses in Melbourne and Sydney’s World Youth Day is the fact that so many, hundreds of thousands, have been engaged in its celebration. This was clear even in our own Archdiocesan surroundings, when tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world, together with thousands from Melbourne itself, joyfully filled the city streets.
There can be no doubt that future generations of Catholics in Australia will classify these past few momentous weeks as constituting a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our land.
Did not our hearts burn within us as we walked the pilgrim path together? As Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, may I express my delight at the huge number of faith-filled pilgrims who have honoured us with their presence and prayers here in our Minor Basilica and the Church of Melbourne.
“Do not be afraid to say ‘yes’ to Jesus, to find your joy in doing His will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness,” the Pope told them as he celebrated the Mass to close the six-day youth gathering on 20 July.
Pope Benedict XVI has acknowledged Blessed Mary MacKillop as one of the most outstanding figures in Australia’s history.
For a Catholic Church that has seen a steady annual decline in figures for Mass attendance – now only at about 13 per cent of Catholics nationally – and especially for young Catholics feeling like the only young person in the local parish, the sight of 300,000 pilgrims from around the nation and overseas will have provided a much-needed shot in the arm.
Pope Benedict XVI said he was “deeply sorry for the pain and suffering” endured by Australian victims of clerical sexual abuse. Describing the abuse as “so grave a betrayal of trust”, he said it deserved “unequivocal condemnation”.
The atmosphere in Melbourne during Days in the Dioceses 2008 was truly unique. Everyone seemed so happy, especially the pilgrims, with the bright colours they bore and the smiles on their faces; they were so inviting it was not uncommon to randomly exchange greetings in the street although they were otherwise strangers to you.
The St Vincent de Paul Society is known for a great many things – providing service to the poor and marginalised, the ‘Vannies’ that provide the comfort of a hot meal to the homeless and, of course, who can forget the Vinnies Stores, where there’s always a great buy.
The hospitality offered to visiting Days in the Dioceses pilgrims by St Dominic’s Parish in Camberwell included an interactive morning on the themes of faith-inspired service and justice.