Australia's young pilgrims celebrate start of WYD
|Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP with Parramatta World Youth Day pilgrims at the Australian pilgrims gathering in Madrid.|
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu
From Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese
All of the Australian Bishops, priests and 4,000 young pilgrims have gathered for a celebration in Madrid to mark the start of World Youth Day (WYD) 2011.
Joining the Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell for what was a 'True Blue Aussie launch' of WYD11 were the Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, and 23 more of Australia's Catholic bishops, as well as more than 300 priests and seminarians who have also travelled to Spain for the event.
The 16 August gathering - the only moment during the WYD week in which all Australian pilgrims will be together - was celebrated with a Mass at Spain's famous Palacio de Deportes de la Communidad as part of a two-hour celebration of music, song and prayer.
Along with prayers and blessings for the life-changing week ahead, the 'Gathering', as it was known, featured music and entertainment with Gary Pinto and Fr Robert Galea.
For many there, one of the highlights of the Gathering came when Fr Robert Galea performed the special tribute song he wrote in honour of Bishop Joe Grech of Sandhurst, who died suddenly late last year and is very much missed by all who knew him.
Faith and joy pours into the streets of Madrid
|WYD11 Opening Mass, Plaza de Cibeles. Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu|
Welcoming the young pilgrims to Madrid, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Archbishop Philip Wilson urged them to take full advantage of the upcoming week of prayer and reflection.
As the almost 4000-strong group of Australians waved flags and joined in the singing, the euphoria and joy swept the entire auditorium.
The final blessing was given by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell who later described the Australian Gathering as "absolutely fantastic" and a "great mix of music, song and prayer."
The enthusiasm, pride of faith and joy felt by the pilgrims continued as they poured into Madrid's streets and prepared for the open air Mass in the Plaza de Celebes that night.
The Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, and marked the official opening of World Youth Day 2011.Read full report at the Sydney Archdiocesan Site
See more photos from 16 August Madrid at the Catholic Youth Parramatta Site
« Return to news list