“We got on a train and got talking to some homestay co-ordinators,” Susan said.
“They said, ‘Come stay with us’ … They were a beautiful family, with others staying there … like a nun from Brazil.
“We couldn’t understand each other but it was fantastic.”
The Ryans continued to be in fortuitous situations not only meeting up by chance with their own BrizStay pilgrims but also the larger group who had been hosted in their parish of Oxenford on the Gold Coast.
“We were lucky enough to stumble across our pilgrims in the city (of Sydney),” David said.
“Two on the first day (in Sydney) … and the next morning at Central station, we were sitting and having a coffee, our legs were worn out … but we thought ‘No, we have to go across the (Harbour) bridge’, and a whole group from San Bernadeno who stayed with us jumped on the train and we walked across with them.”
Susan was pleasantly surprised by yet another encounter.
“When we went to Reconciliation we both got priests from Brisbane,” she said.
“Imagine that? Priests from all over the world and our two were from Brisbane.”
Saying “Benediction with the Pope” was the trip’s “highlight”, the Ryans continued to beam about World Youth Day.
“On the Friday night we sat in the middle of George Street in the city and feeling the joy in a city where no one ever wants to talk to you was such a good feeling,” David said.
“We weren’t very prepared and had to carry a suitcase everywhere … but people wanted to help, especially our pilgrims because they were so thankful that we’d looked after them,” Susan said.
Certain to be “more prepared” for future such experiences, the couple agreed their next pilgrimage would require some planning.
“We’re going to take the kids to Spain,” Susan said.
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