Catholic Youth Parramatta

pilgrims PRAYER

A prayer for the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta's pilgrims travelling to World Youth Day 2011 Madrid.


Ever loving God, we give you thanks for the many blessing we receive in this life. Thank you for the gift of World Youth Day to our young people. We ask your blessing on all our Pilgrims at World Youth Day in Madrid. Bless them on their pilgrimage and help them to build on the many graces and experiences that were the fruit of the World Youth Day in Sydney.


Guide them along right paths by bestowing on them the power of the Holy Spirit, so that they may continue to be your witnesses in the world.


May this pilgrimage renew their faith and confidence in you, and strengthen the bond of communion as they journey together, so that the fruits of their experience might bring renewal to the Church of Parramatta.


We ask this through the intercession of Our Lady of the Southern Cross and in the name of our Lord Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God forever and ever.



Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop. Pray for us.

Blessed John Paul II. Pray for us.

A journey taken with Jesus


By Fr Suresh Kumar, Director Catholic Youth Parramatta

Viva Spain and Italy pilgrims were quite excited to take off to WYD pilgrimage as it happended to be that they were to leave lastly. the count down began long back especially the tension built up rapidly when the other pilgrim groups left the country.

10 August arrived at last! The flight was to Dubai and to continue the jouney onwards to Madrid. Harvest blocked the seats in one area for all of us. (may be to reduce the noise in other parts of the plane from these pilgrims!?).

After the checkins and tearful goodbyes to parents and friends, we headed off to the waiting room to board the plane. For a moment we were like Hollywood stars or rather Bollywood stars with those flashes of camears before we entered the 'Departures'. Some of us were flying for the first time in life!

"Cabin crew please prepare to take off", was heard from captain Steve, now it's real...we are on our way to the pilgrimage to which we have been preparing for more than a year.

For a quick second, the whole year of preparation, formation, bookings, merchandise, promotions, medical conditions etc etc came to mind in a lightening flash and disappeared. Where are heading to? Who will be there to pick us up? Why are we going? questions came to my mind and vanished. World Youth Day is a vocation. Though the invitation is for everyone, its not all were chosen or not all did not choose. Its a time of Grace. I could feel it.

I could see some of became silent after take off. But this silence had a deep meaning. A soul searching for meaning. After all, Jesus is the tour operator of this trip. He is the chief organiser. He will look after me wherever I go. If I were to sleep on the floor rather than my cosy bed, so be it!

Emirates looked after us very well with all the food, entertainment...(I have been thinking of watching Pirates of Caribbean and it's being done now. The facility to call one another was bit handy for me to keep in touch with other pilgrims esp those who are flying for the first time in their life).

Food, movie,, movie, nap...we reached Dubai. Its a beautiful airport but the Mohul architecture spoke very well that we are in a Muslim country. Two hours of break was quite enough for me to freshen up and have a hot chocolate :-) Dubai was spirited up with WYD pilgrims from different countries. The Queenslanders (not sure which Diocese) were in colours with 30 or so pilgrims. They initially thought that were just 28 of us from whole of Parramatta Diocese. I had to set them right by revealing that we are not just 28 but 300. The whole army is out and about in France and Holy Land!

The onward journey began again with a bang! Three of us including me were upgraded to Business class! Now I know why people speak of business class...I was really pampered by the cabin crew. Champaigne on arrival, three-course meal etc etc.

Though the journey was really long, we forgot our tiredness when we reached Madrid. The airport was alive with so many pilgrims beginning to arrive from all over the world. It took me back to 2008 when we went to the airport to welcome the pilgrims from overseas.

We were welcomed by Maria from the Diocese of Coria Caceres. The coach took us to Coria. Again a long journey for 4 hours...very dry land....Maria explained on the way on the culture and life style of the people. (Spanish love to talk!). We reached Coria after almost travelling for 24 hours. We went straight to the Cathedral for Mass. Here, the climate controls the culture. It's 10pm and its still bright. We were welcomed by the Principal celebrant (a French Bishop) in Spanish. We met with the Direct Madrid pilgrims who also had a long and tiring journey.

We were taken to a near by Diocesan centre to meet the home stay hosts. It was a time to say good bye to our friends and entrust them to the care of the home stay hosts. They will be now part of that family for the next couple of days. (One of the great things that teaches us that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and He is the one who unites us). Ryan Manalili, Ben Ruiz, two seminarians frim Lismore and myself were accommodated in the Diocesan seminary. It's a huge building with only eight seminarians.

I am tired and waiting to hit the bed. See you tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Posted by web at 7:34 AM

Comments & Responses

You are all in our prayers Father. Thankyou so much for your blog. We are following the itinerary closely each day. God bless.
Posted by: Marjanna Gilchrist on 15/08/2011 11:40:08 PM(Reply)
We are definetly staying tuned, Fr Suresh. Greetings to everyone and enjoy the experience of WYD11.
Posted by: Sr Grace on 17/08/2011 9:35:46 PM(Reply)

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