Sunday, 4 August 2013

A final word

Seeking truth, beauty, and goodness - seeking God.
There have been many blessings and graces received by our pilgrims who took up this journey seeking the truth of faith in pilgrimage sites of Lima in daily masses and in reconciliation, 
the beauty of Machu Picchu, Iguazu, and beautiful churches.
the goodness of Mission work in Pamplona, and in fellow pilgrims giving to the poor.
God has spoken to those who have come seeking Him. We have learnt patience, humility, and trust.

My faith has been encouraged by our pilgrims walking the 10km to pray and worship God in mass, our pilgrims who waited 3 hours to receive the sacrament of reconciliation, the wonderful way our youth entered into the mission work, by the beauty of God in Iguazu and Machu Picchu, and by sharing in the journey with pilgrims from not only Sydney but across the world.

What remains is the challenge to continue this pilgrimage throughout our whole lives back home. To revisit those special places we found God, and to find new ones as our eyes are opened to Him. To continue to seek His grace in the sacraments, and in prayer. I believe there was also a grace given to take up a new good habit, and to lay down an old one which was not from God. We are also called to mission - to share what we have received with others.

We are reminded of the themes of World Youth Day, Hope in the Cross of Christ, Discipleship in following Him, and Going out sharing the Good news - making disciples.

May we always continue to seek and find Him,
God Bless!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Leaving Iguazu and arriving in Buenos Aries

Desperate pilgrims seeking wifi!
Our final mass on pilgrimage with Fr Dan 
A short flight of about two hours saw us arrive in Buenos Aires, an airport next to one of the widest rivers in the world at 220km.
Our accommodation in B.A. was upgraded to 5 star as our other place was flooded!
A late walk for some of us around town:
After a good sleep in a proper bed up, packed, and off to mass at Buenos Aires cathedral of The Trinity. This was Pope Francis home parish when he was Archbishop in Argentina.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Retreat day

We had quite a few small group sessions today giving us a chance to recollect and contemplate the experiences we have had over these 3 weeks as well as enjoy some of the facilities. 
Before dinner we had mass with Cardinal Pell who con celebrated with the pilgrim bishops and priests at the local cathedral.
I was moved by the willingness of our young people in our bus group to embrace the sacrament of reconciliation. Fr Dan spent near three hours tonight after dinner with them.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

iguazu falls

The area is heritage listed and the water fall is the largest in world. The national park is 2300 square km. Wild animals in the park include the jaguar, monkeys, puma, anteater, deer, native racoon, parrots, toucan, vultures, and swifts. The volume of water in the falls is 1700 cubic metres per second. It is 80 metres high and 2.7 km long. The Iguazu river is a border river between Brazil and Argentina. Iguazu Is a native word for "big water". Paraguay also meets the other two countries at Iguazu and is a tax free shopping centre. Our bus trip to the falls takes us from the Argentina side through to the Brazilian side where we will view the falls. The yearly temp range is 0 to 44 with 80 per cent humidity, brazil is the largest country in South America both in size and population. It borders all but two of the other countries. All rivers flow out into the Atlantic.
One cannot but marvel at the beauty and sheer magnitude of the falls. The wonder of God's creation for all to see. I can well imagine God saying with a smile when He created it a million years ago "my kids are going to love this!"

Monday, 29 July 2013

Flight to Argentina - Iguazu

  We said farewell to our home for the past week at Pier Maua.
and flew out of Rio International airport bound for Argentina. The view was full of contrasts as we passed over open sea, beach side coastline, cloud and blue sky, rugged mountainous terrain, open cut mines, farming land, and beautiful pristine lakes, valleys and rivers, and finally views to Iguazu Falls
View of Iguazu Falls from the air!
The airport seems in the middle of nowhere but is only 15 minutes from our hotel.
Our hotel Americano has a cotton tree, you can see pieces on the driveway.
Accommodation has great facilities including pool, football field, shops, games room. The dining room is well set up and the smorgasbord meals have been superb. Such variety!

Sunday! Mass with all WYD pilgrims and Pope Francis

It's a wonderful morning with welcome cries of Bom Dia (good morning in Portuguese). This seems to be a city without sleep as I'm sure there was singing all through the night. There is generous applause as the sun peeks over the mountains and we receive direct warming rays on this glorious morning. On this day we dedicate to our Lord! We joined with an estimated 3.5 million others in this wonderful mass. The Brazilians have a wonderfully extroverted way of worship before mass with heartfelt singing, dancing and clapping.
The themes from Pope Francis homily were: Go, do not be afraid, serve!
Go out to all the world making disciples of all nations. Do not be confined to those who are nearest to us. the message of the Gospel is for all people. The best person to evangelise a young person is another young person! 
Do not be afraid. Jeremiah was a young person and was afraid to go but God promised to be with him. In the same way you will not go alone as Jesus will be with you. 
You are also called to serve. To look after the poor.
After mass the big but not unexpected news was that next WYD will be held in 2016 in Krakow, Poland, which was Pope John Paul II's home town.
We enjoyed the beach until mid afternoon, then returned home, for welcome showers, another mass (We didn't get communion at the WYD mass), delivery pizza for some before bed.