WITH a mini-pilgrimage walk done, one formation day left and a Commissioning Mass at St Stephen’s Cathedral on July 10, World Youth Day fever in Brisbane archdiocese and further afield continues to grow.
Pilgrimage co-ordinator and archdiocesan youth ministry development officer Anita Hendrie said with just over 60 days left until the event being held in Madrid from August 15 to 21, people were getting excited.
“This includes myself – I’ve been to Spain five times before and absolutely loved it,” she said.
“I can’t wait to be immersed in this beautifully rich culture again, especially to get the opportunity to stay with a Spanish family for Days in the Diocese.
“Then there’s Madrid and the gathering with pilgrims from all around the world to celebrate our faith and await Pope Benedict’s arrival.”
Ms Hendrie said four formation days had been held for Brisbane archdiocese’s more than 90 pilgrims – the most recent being June 11 at Rosalie’s Lavalla Centre.
“During this time we’ve covered topics from Spanish culture, history, food and bit of the language to the difference between being a pilgrim and a tourist and the World Youth Day patron saints,” she said.
“We are getting down to the business end of things, with one formation day to go and the Commissioning Mass at the cathedral.
“The mini-pilgrimage walk on Saturday, June 4, was a really good opportunity to get to know fellow pilgrims and to test our fitness and walking shoes.
“I didn’t do too well in either department in the end but from what I recall Madrid is quite flat compared to the route between Paddington and Mt Coot-tha.”
Brisbane archdiocese’s contingent will be part of a group of more than 220 Queenslanders heading to Madrid – groups include Sacred Origins led by Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane, Spanish Days led by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Oudeman, the Brisbane Catholic Education Office, the St Vincent de Paul Society and some from the Rockhampton and Townsville dioceses.
More than 3000 Australians will attend World Youth Day in Madrid.
There is expected to be as many as two million at the Sunday final Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict at the Cuatro Vientos Air Base, Madrid.
Concelebrating this Mass will be 1600 bishops including 22 from Australia.
– Paul Dobbyn