Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Return from Oz

I'm afraid I was unable to post over the last few days in Australia.

When I last posted I had just returned from the first official audience / welcome to Pope Benedict. It was a noisy but exciting experience. The Pope, when he first saw the shouting, joyful crowd looked bemused, as if asking "is this for me", well, yes, Holy Father, we love you and we were so pleased to have had you with us! It was a time for appropriate paraliturgical clapping "Be - ne - detto - clap - clap - clap"

The next few days were spent spiritually and materially preparing for the World Youth Day vigil, on Randwick racecourse.

After a beautiful private Mass at our hotel, we set off for the racecourse on Saturday. We found our proportioned plot of land (how Israelite), and I set off looking for friends. The evening vigil, presided over by the Holy Father included Eucharistic adoration and prayers, it was a blessed time. After the vigil, at about 10pm, I went with some friends to the tent of the Missionaries of Charity for adoration, this was my favourite half hour of the whole two weeks, it was wonderful to be with Jesus, for whom this whole event was organised!

The following morning, Sunday, the 20th July, at 10am, we had the papal mass for World Youth Day. At this Mass a variety of candidates were confirmed and the Holy Spirit was called down on all those present, and the whole Church.

The Mass ended with the announcement of the host city of the next WYD, it will be in 2011, in Madrid. So, I join with all Spanish speakers, particularly madrillenas, in saying "Si, Si, Si, El Papa va Madrid" "Yes, yes, yes, the Holy Father's coming to Madrid". I will most certainly see him there!

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