Catholic Youth Parramatta

WYD pilgrims set for experience of a lifetime


WYD Commissioning Mass News Story
WYD Commissioning Mass 2011 at St Patrick's Cathedral.
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu

Close to 300 young people from the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta are gearing up for the experience of a lifetime as they prepare for World Youth Day (WYD) in Spain later this month.

This enthusiastic group will join 4,000 young people from Australia to celebrate their faith during WYD in Madrid, which has the theme: ‘Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith.’ (Saint Paul)

The week-long celebrations run from 16-21 August. The highlight will be a vigil and Mass with Pope Benedict XVI on World Youth Day itself – Sunday 21 August.

On Sunday 31 July, the Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, was the principal celebrant at the Commissioning Mass for WYD pilgrims in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.

Bishop Anthony was Coordinator of WYD in Sydney in 2008 when more than 450,000 people converged on Randwick for the final Mass with Pope Benedict XVI.

Music during the Commissioning Mass was provided by the talented singers and musicians of St Andrew’s Youth Band from Marayong. The Parramatta WYD diocesan contingent is the second-largest group leaving from Oceania.

In the cloister after the Mass, the state member for Parramatta, Geoff Lee MP, presented Australian flags to the pilgrim group. A BBQ followed where the young people shared their excitement at what for many will be their first overseas trip.

The Catholic Diocese of Parramatta takes in most of Western Sydney. WYD pilgrims include teenagers and young adults, priests, students and staff from Catholic schools and the Catholic Education Office. Pilgrims are registered in groups that will soon be heading off on separate pilgrimages via the Holy Land, France and Spain.

Commencing on 4 August, Bishop Anthony will lead 175 pilgrims through the Holy Land, visiting and praying at many of the places Jesus visited including Galilee, Nazareth, Cana, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives and Mount Zion.

Youth Director for the Diocese, Fr Suresh Kumar from St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta, and Fr Paul Marshall from St Anthony’s Parish, Toongabbie, will lead 67 young people to the Diocese of Coria-Caceres in Spain where they will take part in “Days in the Diocese”. A time of cultural exchange, these young people will meet the locals, go on pilgrimage to Fatima, experience a different culture and learn more about the Catholic Church in Spain.

Fr Fernando Montano from St Monica’s Parish in North Parramatta will lead 40 young people on their pilgrimage through Spain and France. Beginning in Barcelona, this group will travel to Lourdes, Montserrat, Manresa, San Sebastian, Loyola, and Burgos.

The groups will come together in Madrid on 16 August where they will join more than 2 million people for a program of youth and cultural festivals, formation sessions and Papal events.

Following World Youth Day, Fr Suresh Kumar will lead a group of young people out of Spain and into Italy as they continue their pilgrimage through Rome and Assisi.

The young people have been preparing for their individual journeys by learning a little Spanish, finding out what they need to pack, meeting their fellow pilgrims, spending time in prayer and fund raising.

For people celebrating World Youth Day at home, a WebTV system will broadcast six hours per day from 16 August. Anyone interested in knowing more about, or wishing to watch the WebTV system should visit:

In Parramatta, the vigil and Final Mass with Pope Benedict XVI will be live streamed on Sunday 21 August in the Cloisters of St Patrick’s Cathedral as part of an afternoon of celebrations commencing with a concert at 3.30pm. Live streaming of the Papal Mass starts at 5pm.

Follow our young people from Thursday 4 August via the Parramatta WYD pilgrim blog at the Catholic Youth Parramatta site.

For more information about World Youth Day, visit:

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