“I declare the Spiritual Olympics are open!”
You are Called - WYD Rio: One Year to Go!
By Anthony Gordon, Team Leader: Evangelisation and RE,
Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP and the young people of the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta marked the occasion of exactly one year to World Youth Day (WYD) Rio 2013 with a spectacular celebration at St Patrick’s Cathedral and Cloister on Saturday 28 July.
You Are Called was a dynamic celebration attended by more than 300 young people all showing their enthusiasm to be pilgrims at WYD Rio in July next year.The You Are Called celebrations were proudly sponsored by The University of Notre Dame Australia.
‘Contemplate the face of Christ’
Bishop Anthony delivered an inspiring homily in the You Are Called Mass in which he compared preparing for WYD to an athlete preparing for competition in the Olympics.
He even pointed out some famous examples of athleticism in the gospels, such as Peter’s attempt at water sports, when he temporarily walked on water and also his dabble in fencing in the Garden at Gethsemane and being overtaken by John in the sprint to the empty tomb.
Bishop Anthony asked all the young people present to prepare together meticulously for the WYD pilgrimage to Rio, as mountaineers support each other to achieve the goal of climbing a mountain. He excited the congregation with the image of the Parramatta pilgrims reaching the summit of Corcovado, 700m above the harbour of Rio, where stands the giant Christ the Redeemer statue, “to contemplate the face of Christ”.
On the day of the Opening Ceremony for London 2012, Bishop Anthony ended his lighthearted homily: “I declare the spiritual Olympics are open!”.
Among the world’s greatest pilgrimage destinations
The colourful You Are Called Mass began with a procession of the Australian, Brazilian, Vatican and Aboriginal flags. The rousing music for the mass was performed by Youthworks! - the youth group for St Andrew the Apostle Marayong Parish.
The afternoon began with a vibrant concert in the sun-bathed cloister led by Youthworks!, who played a range of contemporary Catholic music. A sizzling barbecue cooked by the Parramatta Catenians satisfied the young audience and added to the carnival atmosphere.
Fr Robert Riedling, WYD Committee member and Padre Pio Glenmore Park Parish Priest, welcomed the crowd and outlined the exciting pilgrimages that will be offered to the youth of Parramatta.
One pilgrimage invites pilgrims on a moving immersion experience in Lima where our youth will linkup with Caritas to assist with the part construction and painting of houses for the poor, visit pre schools and primary schools and assist with 'soup' kitchens for the elderly and destitute.
This pilgrimage culminates in a visit to the widest falls in the world - Iguazu Falls, and an experience at the famous UNESCO world-heritage listed Jesuit missions of Santa Ana and San Ignacio Mini.
Another pilgrimage visits one of the greatest pilgrimage destinations in the world - the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico before also heading to Iguazu Falls. All pilgrimages lead to the colour and excitement of the week of WYD in the great city of carnivals - Rio de Janeiro.
A diocesan-wide raffle has a Toyota Yaris valued at $17,290 as first prize and will be a chief source of fundraising for pilgrims. Harvest Pilgrimages has donated a pilgrimage for one to the Holy Land, the Journey of Christ (RRP $5400).
Fr Robert spoke of the great fundraising efforts across the Diocese, with the WYD Diocesan Raffle being a chief source of fundraising for pilgrims. Fr Robert introduced a DVD with stunning images of the pilgrimage destinations in Rio and South America and a warm invitation from Bishop Anthony.
Sharing WYD Rio dreams and hopes
Two WYD Madrid pilgrims, Enjoli Rodricks and Our Lady of the Angels Primary Rouse Hill teacher Ben Horne, gave moving testimonies about their experiences at WYD and the impact it has had on their lives drawing them closer to Christ and the Church.
The young audience interacted with a range of youth groups and religious orders who ran stalls displaying their activities as part of the Youth Group and Vocations Expo around the perimeter of the cloister.
After the beautiful Mass, the party atmosphere resumed in the cloister where the barbecue continued into the night, with the young people sharing their WYD Rio dreams and hopes with each other.
Oz Fashions donated 500 WYD Rio T-shirts, which were given out on the day. Oz Fashions is a major supplier of school uniforms to Catholic schools. Our thanks to Joe, Sid and George Arida, who were represented at the celebrations by staff member Diana Conevski with her husband Wes and young daughter.
To learn about how you can become a Parramatta pilgrim at WYD Rio 2013, go to www.parrawyd.org
Read Bishop Anthony’s Homily
Download an audio file of the Bishop’s Homily
Listen to this Homily at Bishop Anthony's iTunes Podcasts
Go to You Are Called Photo Gallery
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