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Last night, my dear friend Chris Valka (soon to be Fr. Chris Valka) asked me what had been the highlight of my World Youth day so far. I had no answer. I guess not much had really happened yet and in truth, we’d spent most of our time working and not really had time to ...read more
I had three experiences of Christ that I can remember, from yesterday and today. When I was on the papal boat yesterday, and I saw the Pope come out of his car and wave with that big smile of his, it really touched my heart. Here is this introverted theologian who probably would rather spend ...read more
This blog comes from Marilena Berardinelli, a young Toronto based Catholic teacher and WYD08 participant. WYD takes its host city “hostage”- or at least that is how WYD is most often first received by the residents of the host city. Transportation is monopolized, the streets are closed, the public spaces are filled to capacity. Pilgrims ...read more
Also on Friday, the Holy Father met with disadvantaged youth at Sacred Heart in Paddington. Here is the message he shared with those present. Dear Young Friends, I am pleased to be with you at Darlinghurst today, and I warmly greet all those taking part in the “Alive” programme, as well as the staff who ...read more
On Friday, Pope Benedict XVI met with leaders from the Christian communities of Australia at St. Mary’s Cathedral. The following his his address. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I give heartfelt thanks to God for this opportunity to meet and pray with all of you who have come here representing various Christian communities in ...read more
Pope Benedict met Friday with heads of other faiths at Sydney’s St. Mary’s Cathedral Chapter Hall. Here is the Holy Father’s address: Dear Friends, I extend cordial greetings of peace and goodwill to all of you who are here representing various religious traditions in Australia. Grateful for this encounter, I thank Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence and ...read more
  As we were tightly packed on the deck of the Sydney 2000, I couldn’t help but be privy to another pilgrim’s poignant moment with the Holy Father. Representing Sudan, Rodha is an invited participant in the International Liturgy Group. As such, she was also among the eleven ILG members chosen to meet Pope Benedict XVI as he travelled by ...read more
Being at the Papal Welcome Ceremony earlier today, certainly brought back memories. You see, for WYD2002, I was in charge of the Papal Welcome Ceremony. I loved planning that event. I loved working with the Liturgy team, the operations team, the International Liturgy coordinator, the Vatican Master of Ceremonies, the Papal Protocol people, the Vatican ...read more
The unexpected happened! Last night, I found out that I was going to be part of the Salt + Light crew on the papal boat (it was me, Wally, and Sebastien). This morning, I was told that we’d be positioned on the top deck with the over 200 pilgrims chosen to be in the papal ...read more
This blog comes from Marilena Berardinelli, a young Toronto based Catholic teacher and WYD08 participant. It is difficult to imagine WYD without the presence of a Roman Pontiff. Of course, the experience of WYD goes beyond any one Pope, however, his presence does attest to the fact that young people are an integral aspect of ...read more