She pondered these things in her heart…

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.

Words from the Holy Father at the vigil

We just finished up the vigil with the Holy Father and it was truly awe-some. He spoke about the gifts of the Spirit and about St. Augustine being THE saint of the Trinity. He is the perfect example of someone living for the world, then going on to repent and become not only a saint, but a Church doctor. Woah! This is quite the message for all of us, but especially to youth. They can move away from their sinful ways and make a life worthy of God. The pope also spoke alot about the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and also about the gifts that each one of us has. Being able to offer these to God, helps us to see how we fit into the picture.

After the Holy Father’s remarks, we had some time in adoration. This was one of the first time in the whole week where it was really quiet. There I was in a field of a ton of people, who were able to be quiet immediately, yet it took longer for me to quiet my own heart. I really relished this time. It was good to be to spend time with Sweet Jesus. I can not wait to take my Godson Artie and his brother Timmy to World Youth Day when they are in high school. I can not wait to share it with them.

On a separate note, a good WYD survival tip: bring a roll of toilet paper, it is worth its weight in gold.

Vigil and overnight: A foretaste of Heaven

Here’s my first post of the vigil, I hope that at some point you can tune in and see it. Currently, I am watching the Matt Maher Band play. Other then the fact that I’m totally in love with him, I feel they play incredible music.

It’s great to finally be here. Our walk was not too bad. Apparently, we walked 4.6 kms, which is about 2.5 miles. While I carried enough to cloth all of the vigil, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be. We walked it as a diocese and it took us only about 1.5 hours, which I think is good. We’ve staked out our spots and have all taken naps. Our location is prime. The stage is not that far away and we have a great view of a big screen. The expected total is 750,000. I can not wait to see Heaven kiss earth here at Randwick! Meeting him face to face in the Eucharist, in this global community. I know that this is what Heaven will be like.

Simply amazing

I’m not sure how it happens, but it is simply amazing to have the Holy Spirit cut straight to my heart. I felt like in everything that I heard today, that God was speaking directly to me. Breathing in the Holy Spirit and seeing his effects first hand is incredible. Today we had stations and they were amazing. While they were hard to follow because they were spread all over Sydney, I was particularly touched by how close I felt to Christ’s suffering. Tomorrow is the pilgrimage. I will keep each you in my prayers.

Please keep me in your prayers. There’s a few colds and some gunk going around. I am on the receiving end of this, but I will not miss the Pope of hope. I hope each of you is watching on EWTN, it is totally worth viewing.

LATBA. I love you mom and yes, I’m fine.

The Spirit is moving among us

It’s amazing to see how the Holy Spirit is working in this great South land. Yesterday was the opening mass for WYD. It was incredible.

Somehow, a few of my kids and a chaperone got separated from us, so I spent most of my time with a smaller group than I am used to. Celebrating the mass, Heaven kissing earth, with my teens was awesome. To see so many Catholics from all over the world is literally breathtaking. It truly illustrates the universality of the Church.

In every place the Spirit is moving and the different expressions of faith are beautiful. There were some ethic dancers at mass last night and looking back it made me think of David dancing in front of the tabernacle. What a full circle.

Cardinal Pell’s homily totally rocked my world. Even in a sea of faces, I felt like he had read my heart and broke it open. I can’t imagine what the rest of the week has in store.

Just the beginning…

After a flight that seemed to take forever, we finally made it! The long trip was well worth it. Australia is beautiful and the city has been transformed for World Youth Day. I am so blessed to be here.

Today and tomorrow the Diocese of Arlington has a retreat. It’s been a great preparation for pilgrimage. We went to St. Mary’s Cathedral for Mass and a tour. There was so much to see, but a highlight for me was the body of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. While his body was not enclosed in glass, being in the presence of such a holy man was incredible. Here’s this amazing man who loved the poor so much that he was willing to literally love them to his death. Teens love him, because he was athletic and basically a stud. My love for him is relatively new but I hope in the future that he will guide my way. My hope is that I can carry him close to my heart and grow in devotion to him. If this is what the pilgrimage is going to be like, then I cannot wait to have my world rocked! Pier Giorgio Frassati pray for us!

I’m praying for the readers of this blog. Special shout outs to LATBA, my family and of course to my Lala (we love flat  lala).

Proud moments

Today was a great day of meeting amazing people, having fun with my parish on the beach and then hearing that two of my girls helped evangelize.

There are great moments as a youth minister but none are as great as hearing that your kids helped to evangelize non-believers. Two of my girls were gone for an hour tonight and when they came back they told me about the businessmen who stopped to ask them questions. They seemed to have given them all the right answers. This place truly is a witness to the Spirit.


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