THE devotion shown by pilgrims receiving the Eucharist and attending Reconciliation at World Youth Day in Madrid has been called “inspirational” by Brisbane priest Fr Leo Burke.
Fr Burke, of St Rita’s Parish, Victoria Point, made the comment at a post-World Youth Day gathering at the Lavalla Centre, Paddington, on October 8.
“The faith-filled way with which so many pilgrims received the Eucharist was inspirational,” he told the gathering of more than 60 pilgrims from as far away as Cairns diocese.
“Another high point for me was the hours I spent in Reconciliation.
“I found it tremendous to spend this time helping to reconcile people with God.”
Fr Burke was one of a group of about 10 Queensland clergy who attended World Youth Day in Spain in August.
Brisbane archdiocese youth ministry team leader Michael Hart, along with other team members Anita Hendrie, Christine Anderson and Donna Longland, facilitated the post-World Youth Day gathering.
The meeting provided an opportunity for pilgrims to reconnect with those who had journeyed with them in Spain.
At the same time, it was forward-looking and geared to ensuring the new spiritual growth started during World Youth Day was sustained and yielded abundant fruit for the Church.
The gathering included prayers of thanksgiving as well as small and large-group sharing to gain feedback from pilgrims on the joys and challenges of the experience.
Participants were also given an overview of Church organisations with which they could be involved including the St Vincent de Paul Society, Rosies, Edmund Rice Camps and Young Christian Students.
The meeting concluded with a look forward to World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which, as those gathered were reminded, “is only 22 months away”.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hart, who has been involved in five World Youth Days, said he had been particularly impressed by attendance of pilgrims from other dioceses.
“This will strengthen the ties within Queensland following the latest World Youth Day,” he said.
“It’s also been exciting to see the event as a catalyst for those wishing to become leaders of youth ministry.
“Several of those who attended have already called me to discuss developing leadership skills.”
Mr Hart was also pleased at the involvement of so many priests and bishops in the latest World Youth Day.
“One of Pope John Paul II’s hopes for this event was that young people would draw closer to their priests and bishops,” he said.
“He also had a desire for a renewal of enthusiasm among the religious through their involvement with the young people.
“Clearly this is being achieved.”
The next post-WYD 2011 gathering for pilgrims will be a dinner with Archbishop John Bathersby in the piazza outside the Claver Theatre at All Hallows’ School on November 5.