I’m not sure if anyone is reading these posts any more, but I do hope so. I haven’t written about the end of the vigil or the Papal mass intentionally. Spending the night at Randwick and celebrating mass with the Holy Father leaves a lot for one to think about. Out of sheer exhaust and also in order to truly digest the entirety of the week, I haven’t written. I know that this post will not do justice to the enormity of World Youth Day, but I will try.
I long to go home and read all of the words of the Holy Father from this blessed event. Staying up all night for the vigil, keeping watch for Christ, lends one to a tired, but happy heart, which makes paying attention very difficult. I can not wait to go home and read through the Holy Father’s homily once more to make sure that I relish in it.
World Youth Day is an entire entity all its own. I was amazed to see what happened at World Youth Day. To see an entire capital uprooted with joyful singing, happy laughter and true devotion to Christ made me cling to all that is true, beautiful and good. Being my first pilgrimage and taking 10 kids with me, it was interesting to see how each teen came to cherish a particular part of the week. For some, it was the closing mass, for others, the earth shaking words came at the vigil and still for others, to see pilgrims from around the world gather for what is true in the world brought them to their knees. I am humbled and in awe to have seen 10 kids take in, process and love God through the entire week. We are still on our pilgrimage, but already, to see how they’ve taken away the bits and pieces of the week and will weave them into their lives. Sydney will never again be the same and I think the same is true for all 212 of us from the Diocese of Arlington. Yes, some will have their lives completely uprooted from the week and others will not, but I know that each one will carry with them from the week.
World Youth Day is all about an emptying of oneself. Just as our Lord pours himself out by becoming human, we too are called to pour our selves out for love of him. I’ve poured, pushed and worked harder this week than I think that I ever had in ministry. At the same time, I’ve seen kids do the same. I’m touched by the kindess they showed, by the fact that they don’t mind being shoved onto a train platform, or the fact that walking back from the closing mass took 3 hours. In so many ways, World Youth Day strips of selfishness and makes us run back to him and for that I am thankful. It’s been a long couple of weeks and I’m eager to be home. When I look back at the pilgrimage, I know that the things I’ll remember the most is the small moments, when in the midst of a crowd of people, the 13 of us came to be loved by God, love God more and love each more. God is so good and I’m so lucky to have had his cup overflow onto me this week.
Over the next few days, I plan on posting a few more things, some tidbits I learned and some of the things I’ll ponder in my heart. I pray for much peace and joy for each of you. Please pray for our safe travels home on Monday.
LATBA…I love you.