A little pilgrim tale:
Spraining your ankle playing footy isn't
the best way to start World Youth Day, you feel like its over, you won't be
able to experience it to its fullest, but my sprained ankle shown me mercy in
the most incredible and surprising way. After being on crutches for the second
day, I was quite fatigued and it didn't help that the taxi driver couldn't
drive any closer to blonia Park, as the weather was turning for the worse, I
started hobbling the 2 or so kilometres it was until the park for opening mass.
As I was quite sore, my pace was slow, which is when I hear someone offer to
carry me, but at first I was too prideful to accept, but he insisted so I
couldn't say no. The man who piggy-backed me the distance was James, a pilgrim
from Melbourne traveling with the Maitland diocese, and his act of kindness was
an incredible display of the mercy of God through others and the willingness of
other pilgrims to lend a helping hand, so I can truly say that my sprained
ankle was a blessing in disguise
- Josh Alegre, Krakow Connect, Sandhurst
Pope Francis has arrived! Some thoughts from Bishop Mark and a range of pilgrim images from the last couple of days!
The Pope arrived in Kraków today and the world stopped! Bishop Pat O'Regan and I were (attempting to) returning home when our path was blocked by barricades line 2 and 3 deep with people waiting to see and glimpse the Pope. Police lined the road watching the crowd, helicopters flew above, occasional police cars (and platoons of them) raced down the road with lights and sirens screaming - all false starts for us. Then the motorcade arrived; there were maybe 5 vehicles with security men, an honour guard of a phalanx of motorcycles AND THE POPEMOBILE. The crowd waved and shouted and cheered and the he was gone - but we had seen him.
A number of our pilgrims arrived back at our base excited at having seen the Pope. All pilgrims are back in the city tonight torn between wanting to see the Pope on the balcony at 9.30 and going to the concert with Genevieve Bryant and Fr Rob Galea. The small groups seem to have broken fairly evenly between these events.
Tomorrow, we have the WYD welcoming ceremony for the Pope at a park about 1km form our base. The weather prediction is for rain (100%) and I think there would be open rebellion if we even thought of suggesting they stay home and dry!
The Pilgrims are wonderful. They are open, cooperative, flexible, resilient and looking for personal faith experiences. All are well.
Today we had our first catechesis session. Cardinal Tim Dolan from NY was the teacher. After some warm up songs, a testimony and some community building he spoke for 40 minutes on not putting off the calls from God. He was clear, personable, funny and had a good message. 500 pilgrims sitting on the floor never moved. We finished with a Q&A session and Mass.
+ Bishop Mark Edwards OMI