Early Morning Mass at LAX

Myself and many WYD pilgrims on Qantas Flight 12 spent five hours on the ground at LAX after boarding our flight to Sydney July 11. The pilot told us there was smoke in one of the bathrooms. Engineers came aboard to search for the source of the problem. Not able to resolve the issue after five hours, everyone had to leave the plane and head to hotels. But not before Father J.D. Jaffe from the Arlington Diocese obtained permission to celebrate Mass in the terminal for pilgrims. The altar for the Mass was the American Airlines ticket counter. The time was around 4 a.m. but who was keeping track at this point. Qantas also served dinner to us in the terminal. After Mass, pilgrims headed over for their dinner, or was it breakfast? All in all, most pilgrims and people on the flight took the hardships in stride. Father Jaffe and four young men with his group showed exceptional fortitude. This was the second flight they had missed. They had been bumped off a Qantas flight the previous day when their domestic flight was delayed. Update: A Qantas representative just informed us waiting to board our flight today that there was no smoke in the plane last night. The problem was just with the smoke detector in one of the bathrooms.

Spirit of WYD at LAX

I arrived at the gate at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) to the sound and sight of teens from Puerto Rico working on their dance moves. With music provided by an I-Pod and some small speakers, the girls rehearsed their dances moves to what sounded to me like salsa music. Just minutes ago, I ran into a priest friend from the Diocese of Arlington whom I’ve know since childhood. We were talking about how Catholic LAX has become. Just now ran into Tim Drake, who will be covering WYD for the National Catholic Register. We begin boarding for our flight in about 45 minutes. I have less time than this on my laptop’s battery. One more thing- when I was checking in for my Qantas flight, a representative randomly handed me a copy of the Southern Cross newspaper when I told them I was a journalist. The spirit of WYD has transformed LAX.


Teen spirit at LAX. (CNS/Paul Haring)


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