Planted and Built Up in Jesus Christ
By Anthony Gordon, Team Leader – Evangelisation and RE
Planted and Built Up in Jesus Christ was a dynamic post World Youth Day celebration attended by about 500 young people on Sunday 11 September 2011 at St Patrick’s Cathedral and Cloister in Parramatta.
The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, welcomed back his fellow WYD pilgrims and encouraged them to be leaders of the New Evangelisation in Western Sydney.
Bishop Anthony delivered an inspiring catechesis in which he invited the young people of the Diocese to “… find new places to lead and serve as agents of the New Evangelisation; to draw ever more closely into the ordinary life of the Church while making that ordinary life extraordinary. Can you do it? Will you do it? Will you walk with me as disciples of Christ and His missionaries in Western Sydney?”
The audience asked questions of the Bishop as a roving microphone was circulated throughout the sun-bathed cloister. The rapport between the young pilgrims and their chief shepherd was evident in the humorous, direct and thorough way they communicated in the Q&A.
“It was fantastic to be able to have such an intimate experience with the Bishop where we were able to ask him questions, helping us develop a stronger understanding of our faith,”Holy Land pilgrim Jonathon Foley said.
Fellow Holy Land pilgrim Jay Pamintuan said: “Today is a dream come true to listen to the words of wisdom from our wonderful Bishop and receive his encouragement. We are now called to be disciples of the New Evangelisation – to set Western Sydney on fire with the love of Christ!”
CFC Youth for Christ Global Band created a beautiful atmosphere of worship playing a range of WYD and contemporary religious songs. The celebration began with a rousing rendition of the WYD Madrid song, Firm in the Faith. The atmosphere reached fever pitch with the youthful audience joining in the singing of the famous WYD08 Sydney anthem, Receive the Power.
Powerful testimonies were given by pilgrims Claire Brown and Luke Streher. Claire spoke of her incredible experience of having lunch with Pope Benedict XVI, a man she described as “gentle and peaceful”. Luke spoke passionately about the ways in which he felt that the challenges of the pilgrimages had brought him into a closer relationship with God.
Spirit of World Youth Day alive and well
St Patrick’s Cathedral was full for the post WYD Mass with pilgrims carrying Australian, Vatican and Spanish flags in the entry procession. A rich and vibrant atmosphere of worship was led by the talents of the CFC Youth for Christ band.
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu.
In a moving prayer, Bishop Anthony prayed the prayer that Pope Benedict XVI had intended to pray at the WYD Vigil by consecrating the youth to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The journey towards WYD Rio de Janeiro 2013 was symbolised by the Brazilian flag leading the closing procession.
Santo Passarello, principal of Patrician Brothers’ College Blacktown, said it was a privilege to be in St Patrick’s Cathedral to celebrate the Eucharist and welcome back the pilgrims.
“I witnessed first-hand why my boys and staff singled out the Bishop’s catechesis as their highlight of the pilgrimage. Bishop Anthony’s leadership, spiritual guidance and personal care were the cornerstones of the success of the pilgrimage.
“My students and staff have returned with a remarkable sense of purpose and fulfillment. They are effusive in their praise of the gift of faith renewal and enrichment. It is certainly encouraging to hear 16-year-old adolescent males speaking fervently about their faith journey!”
Sunday’s celebration ended in the Cloister with a BBQ cooked by members of the Catholic Education Office, Parramatta. Pilgrims gathered over hot sausages to share memories of their WYD adventures.
An important topic of conversation was the importance of ensuring that the spirit of WYD continued in the work of the Diocese. Pilgrim Lisa Garland commented, “Great to see that the spirit of WYD was alive and well in the youth and I believe will continue on through to the next WYD.”
Bishop Anthony has established a Post WYD Committee with the mission of ensuring that the momentum of WYD lives on. A range of different initiatives are being discussed such as:
Assisting young people to establish or strengthen youth groups or activities within their parishes and schools;
Providing retreats for youth such as the Catholic Youth Parramatta Retreat (25-27 November 2011);
Promoting youth forums such as Theology on Tap, where young people gather in a social context to share and discuss their faith;
Forums for regularly gathering with Bishop Anthony such as Breakfast with the Bishop (a well-established forum that meets regularly);
Providing training in evangelisation and youth ministry; and
Diocesan youth celebrations such as Planted and Built Up in Jesus Christ.
The Catholic Diocese of Parramatta has a faith-filled future with our WYD pilgrims leading the way as leaders of the New Evangelisation, firm in the faith.
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