NOOSA parish’s Chris Higginson “leapt” at the chance to apply for a World Youth Day pilgrimage.
The 18-year-old has been chosen to represent his faith community among a group travelling to Spain in August with Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane.
Noosa parish priest Fr Mark Franklin relayed the community’s support.
“Chris will represent the youth of our parish admirably as he travels with Archbishop Bathersby’s pilgrim group through the Holy Land and on to Madrid,” Fr Franklin said.
“I look forward to parishioners supporting Chris in his pilgrimage as they have done for World Youth Day participants from the parish in previous years.”
The community has suggested gift vouchers available through World Youth Day tours to assist and is organising other initiatives of financial and prayerful support.
Chris is a graduate of St Teresa’s Catholic College, Noosaville, where he was school captain.
After starting a “gap year to try out the workforce, save some money and do some travelling”, he submitted his application for the WYD pilgrimage.
“When I heard that the archbishop was taking a pilgrimage group to the Holy Land, Egypt and then Spain for WYD11, I leapt at the opportunity to apply to travel with the group,” Chris said.
“An opportunity such as this comes along maybe, once in a lifetime, especially at my age and I am grateful to Fr Mark, Noosa parish and the deanery for supporting my application and sponsoring part of my travels.”
Chris said he was looking forward to mixing with “like-minded Catholic youth from all over the world”.
“Each pilgrim will come with their own set of motives, passions and reasons for attending, which will be shared over a week-long schedule of activities and festivities,” he said.
“I am extremely excited at the opportunity of visiting the Holy Land on the way.”
After this WYD11 the young Catholic plans on visiting Avila, Spain, and Lyon, France, where St Teresa and St Marcellin Champagnat “performed their holy work”.
This addition to the pilgrimage is the result of Chris’ Marist schooling.
“I have a deeply rooted sense of Marist ethics and morality,” he said.
“My high school, with the patron saints Teresa of Avila and Marcellin Champagnat had seven key foundation values: ‘Aspiration, Contemplation, Family Spirit, Presence, Simplicity, Wisdom and In the Way of Mary’.
“These resonate with me as core values (and) anyone can hold to them.”
Chris also has his sights on a Roman visit to “witness to the mammoth wealth of Christian tradition and architecture (and) to help understand what being Christian today actually means”. “What a trip,” he said.
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