So this is the day we began our catechesis.
We decided to go to the Love and Life pavilion for our catechesis and Masses. It was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and Sisters of Life. It was a stadium that, with the way they set up the main stage, could hold between 12,000 – 13,000 people.
When we arrived there we ran into the other Victoria group and Bishop Richard as well. We all went inside and there was already a talk going on by one of the Sisters of Life. The Catechist that day was Cardinal Pell from Australia. While I have never heard him before, I had honestly expec better from him. He was sort of all over the place in both his catechesis and his homily. However it was a good thing in the sense that something he said got some of the people in our group to want to go to confession!
After Mass we all went out. Sam, Harrison Elia, and myself went out to find a restaurant to have some lunch. On our haunt I ran into Carlos Nunez, one of my good friends at the seminary who is in my year. It was really great to run into him.
We ended up going to a Burger King because we desired something deep fried. As we were waiting in line we were talking to a priest from England. At one point – I can’t remembr the context – he said that he was from a small town in England called Hull. I stopped him right there. Hull is where my grandma and grandpa on my dad’s side grew up and got married, it was also where my dad was born! So I shared that with him. He then pointed out to me three young men further down the line who were in the seminary and were also from Hull. I knew about Hull because my dad talks about it a lot. So I find that a rather neat coincidence.
We had lunch and Sam went off on his own. Harrison and myself went off back to the English Pavilion. We went to some talks and then met up with our group.
Then it was off to the hotel where Fr Dean’s group was staying. We all prayed Evening Prayer together and had dinner at a local restaurant that took our WYD certificates. I ended up sitting at the table with Fr. Dean and the bishop and we all had a great visit.
While there, I needed a favour from the Bishop. You see, while I was traveling, I seemed to have lost the letter from my bishop that said I was a seminarian of the Diocese. I don’t know how it got lost, but it got lost. So the bishop was kind enough to write a new letter and give me his card, hoping and praying that it would work the next day when I went to get my accreditation. In thanks, I bought him a beer :).
While there I had a good conversation with some of the guys on the trip in our group. They had questions about the Pope, about the priesthood, about formation. But what was most beautiful to me was what one of them said: “You know, sometimes you doubt. Sometimes you think your faith is just not true. But then you come to something like this. You see all these people gathered because of their faith. Then you have to say to yourself “How could this possibly be wrong?”” That is the beauty of WYD, that is the power of it.
Before I end this post, I want to say one general thing about the English Pavilion. It was SO well organized. The Masses were beautiful, with amazing chant, and it was reverant. People were silent and kneeling at the consecration: you could hear a pin drop! The music was beautiful and glorious and the nuns did a really good job at teaching the kids why Gregorian Chant is important in the Mass. Plus with all the talks, with the vocations cafe – of which I know some of the kids went to check out – with adoration where you are tripping over people because the area, which is quite large, is overflowing with people, all of this was great. It was great, too, for the kids to witness beautiful young men and women religious. Many said they had never even seen a nun before, let alone young joyful ones! Many had never seen so many priests, many had never seen any young priests. For many, it has redefined religious life for them, which is a great and beautiful thing. There are times of cheering and exuberance, and there are times of silence, adoration, and prayer.
That is all for now. Tomorrow I will tell you of Thursday!