WORLD Youth Day in Brazil will be an experience young Brisbane pilgrims will never forget, Archbishop Mark Coleridge has said.
Archbishop Coleridge made the comments during an interview on Brisbane radio on July 3.
He said the more than 50 young pilgrims from Brisbane archdiocese would get an experience of “travelling on the road with other people, an experience of community in a very fragmented culture and that’s an important thing”.
“They’ll see the Church as they’ve never seen the Church before,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“They think the Church is no bigger than their backyard or the school playground.
“The Catholic Church is the greatest show on earth.”
Archbishop Coleridge said “when you see it all in microcosm at a thing like World Youth Day, that can be mind-blowing”.
“I think the experience is a kind of meeting the pope, I mean I know there will be millions there, and also entry into other cultures, going to the slums of Santiago and seeing Rio de Janeiro,” he said.
“I mean, Australians – we’re from this fat island that’s unbelievably wealthy, land of the lotus-eaters – to see some of these other places and to see the way the world really is, that can be a life-changing experience as well.
“So that would be some of the things I hope for on the pilgrimage.”
In the interview, Archbishop Coleridge also spoke about Pope Francis and the challenge of attracting young people into the Church.
“One of the things that struck me very powerfully in Sydney (World Youth Day in 2008) was how cool it suddenly became to be Catholic,” he said.
“So what we’re trying to do with World Youth Day is introduce the young people to, first of all, an experience with God, because they’re sick to death, and I don’t blame them, of just hearing words about God.
“They’re sick to death with Christianity reduced to a kind of moralism which says do this, don’t do that.
“They want an experience of God and they want an experience of the Church as a genuine human and divine community.
“So that’s what World Youth Day seeks to do.
“It’s not tourism, it’s a pilgrimage, it’s hard work they’re there for, and it introduces them to a whole new experience of humanity, the Church and God, that can change lives.”
Brisbane archdiocesan pilgrims leave for South America on July 16.
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