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WYD pilgrims share experiences

Townsville diocese’s World Youth Day pilgrims, from left, Grace Iuliano, Mary McAuliffe, Thomas Whittaker, Travis Coles and Achel Mawien visiting the parish ecological centre in Valparaiso, Chile.

Time of grace: Townsville diocese’s World Youth Day pilgrims, from left, Grace Iuliano, Mary McAuliffe, Thomas Whittaker, Travis Coles and Achel Mawien visiting the parish ecological centre in Valparaiso, Chile.

TOWNSVILLE diocese’s World Youth Day pilgrims have spoken of sharing their Australian culture with other pilgrims during their visit to Rio de Janeiro.

The five young adults joined with other pilgrims from Queensland and ACT to travel together as a group.

Mary McAuliffe said one of her many pilgrimage highlights was having a game of thong throwing in the park, and having some of the local children from nearby houses come out and play with them.

“The group also taught about Australia with fun activities like baking Anzac biscuits, taste testing vegemite and participating in boomerang throwing,” she said.

The group first traveled to Chile where they joined a parish in Valparaiso.  

Despite language and cultural boundaries, the locals were welcoming and made the Australian visitors feel at home.  

What followed was a cultural exchange as the group learned about the realities of living in Valparaiso and being part of the Church in Chile, as well as hearing from other community leaders such as a social worker and a police officer.

Mary said on arriving in Rio it was difficult to stay together as a whole group so smaller groups broke off and found their own spot along Copacabana beach.

“When we returned to the hotel, everyone had a story to share about getting a glimpse of Pope Francis or having him stop right in front of them,” she said.

“And then as he left, he drove right past our hotel.  

“We were all pretty excited.”

Mary said since the group’s return from Rio, they have often discussed Pope Francis’ instruction to “Go and make disciples of all nations”.

“The group has considered ways that we can make this happen in our own community and parishes,” she said.

Written by: Staff writers
Catholic Church Insurance

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