Thursday, 10 July 2008

Day Ten!

Today we began our walk at Dural Park. Here we were joined by the local Federal member Philip Ruddock and the Mayor. We were also blessed with the presence of Fr Dominic Murphy for our journey today. As we walked along the pathway we could see groups of people eagerly waiting to join us. The crowd started to get bigger and the passes by were all interested to know what was causing such excitement.

We headed towards Redfield College where we met up with more people who had come to see the Cross. The community gathered for some prayers and then a beautiful Mass was celebrated.

We processed the Cross and Icon into the school chapel and it remained there for overnight prayer with Adoration and Mass.


Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Prayers and procession from Parramatta to Epping

Today’s walk began at Parramatta Cathedral and passed through the streets of Parramatta before coming to the river side of the University of Western Sydney for the day’s first prayer stop.

We continued carrying the Cross through the suburban streets, stopping at various times for people who had come out of their houses to greet the Cross. At one point we stopped and chatted to some workmen on the side of the road who were interested in finding out what all the singing, flags and the big Cross was about.

The next prayer stop was at St Patrick’s Marist College, Dundas, where we focussed on the Icon and prayed to Our Lady for her intercession for our intentions.
The Cross & Icon were then taken to Mobbs Hill (a lookout in the suburb of Carlingford.) We were joined here by a busload of Little Sisters of the Poor, who prayed around the Cross & Icon and helped us carry the Cross during the afternoon to Our Lady Help of Christians parish at Epping. We have been really blessed to have great weather on the 15 day walk so far…it began pelting this afternoon, but only once the Cross & Icon were inside the Church! Thanks to all those who joined us today for the walk - you definately helped to make the weight of the Cross a bit lighter!

Bernadette :)

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Culture and colour as Cross is carried from Rookwood to Parramatta

Today’s walk began at Rookwood Cemetary, where we were joined by several enthusiastic parishioners who helped us carry the Cross to Mona Park in Auburn. Here we stopped for a prayer stop before driving to St Oliver Plunkett’s Parish and School.

We were joined by many members of the Sudanese Community who carried the Cross and brought so much joy and vibrancy to our procession through their great singing! We continued walking until we came across a big group of WYD pilgrims from the Cook Islands, who just happened to be standing on O’Connell St, Parramatta as we came past. We stopped walking so these pilgrims could have a chance to carry the Cross. I was really overwhelmed by the chance meeting of these pilgrims, their enthusiasm at seeing the Cross and their great singing (with such beautiful harmonies!) After a little while the Cook Islanders had to leave us to go and catch their train, so the members of the Sudanese community once again took over carrying the Cross.

We had a chance for a prayer stop in the beautiful surrounds of the Parramatta Park, which I found a really peaceful contrast to the singing and energy and joy that had previously surrounded the Cross. Many more hands helped carry the Cross right up to Parramatta Cathedral and there were events that continued around the Cross well into the night. What an exciting day where so many cultures and pilgrims gathered around this one symbol – World Youth Day is really upon us!

Bernadette :)

Monday, 7 July 2008

From Punchbowl to Strathfield

With the 8am mass at St Jerome Parish Punchbowl focusing on sharing the gospel with the world it was a great reminder and great way to start Day 7 of our walk across Sydney. With a week in I started to feel that everything that could be done on a walk had been i had by this point seen it all. In fact i was wrong because everyday brings new people who are excited to have the Cross pass through their local streets as it makes its way into the Opening Mass of WYD08.

From St Jerome Parish we made our way to Parry park where after a quick prayer stop we continued onto St Michael's Parish in Belmore. Just continually seeing the joy in peoples faces as they unexpectedly get to carry the cross or see it in their street as they come rushing out of their houses is truly amazing and inspiring to continue on with this Journey each day.

After lunch at St Michael's we continued on to the Seminary of the Good Shepherd with a prayer stop in the middle at Strathfield park and also a chance for us to catch our breathe before continuing on. As well as meeting those who are excited about the Cross we also come across those who don't know much about it. On this leg especially i had the opportunity to share with a young man all about the Cross and what it all means, and why there is procession of people walking down his streets. The easy opportunity that arise to openly share the gospel with the public is a true blessing and is very well received on the whole.

At the Seminary prayer continued on through the night we rosary's, veneration, mass, evening prayer, night prayer and lots of other prayers. The faithfulness of the seminarians and the local community here was a true support and encouragement for my own faith seeing lots of other young men with such devotion to their faith.

God Bless


Sunday, 6 July 2008

The Shire hosts the Cross

We began this morning at St Patrick’s Parish in Sutherland. There was an awesome crowd gathered and many people were able to join us for the procession to Scylla Bay Reserve.

Here we had some time for prayer and veneration. It was wonderful to see bystanders come up to find out about what was going on. One lady was thrilled to see the Cross on her 70th Birthday!

We crossed the Como Bridge over the Georges River towards the Oatley Memorial Gardens. What a welcome sight to see so many people waiting to greet us when we arrived!

We drove to Our Lady of Fatima Parish and again we were welcomed by a crowd of excited parishioners. We walked through the reserve stopping for a prayer and finished at St Joseph’s Parish in Riverwood. They hosted an evening liturgy with prayer into the night.


Saturday, 5 July 2008

Cross carried from M7 to Mount Druitt

Today’s events began at Mary Immaculate Parish, Bossley Park, where the Cross & Icon were farewelled by a large crowd of parishioners, many of whom had spent parts of the night in a vigil with the symbols, or gotten up for an early morning mass. The walk began at the nearby Equestrian Centre and we then made our way to the M7 Cycleway (next to the M7 motorway.) Motorists driving past must have wondered what all the flags were about and what all these people were doing carrying a big Cross next to the motorway!

We stopped for a prayer break at the M7 Control Centre and then continued walking on the M7 Cycleway to Rooty Hill. The next leg of the walk commenced at the RAAF Memorial Reserve at Mount Druitt, where we were joined by a large crowd of people eager to carry the Cross, and finished at the parish at Mount Druitt. We were really lucky to spend today walking not only with the Cross, but with so many enthusiastic people who came out to be a part of this memorable part of the lead up to World Youth Day. It was a really peaceful and prayerful day spent soaking up some great sunshine and placing our prayers for ourselves, our neighbours and our world at the foot of this great symbol.

Bernadette :)

Friday, 4 July 2008

One day closer to Barangaroo...

Today was day 4 of this historic 15 day walk of the WYD Cross into Sydney!

We started off today at Joe Broad Reserve Mt Pritchard, with a group of locals and a few keen pilgrim walkers from yesterday.
Our first destination was Our Lady of Mt Carmel Parish. There we joined in a lovely time of prayer with a large parish community, before hitting the pavement bound for Freeman Catholic College.
On the way Pilgrims joined in prayer and song around the Cross, with various people waiting to greet us (and the Cross) along the way.
Once at the College, we stopped for another time of prayer with the community and then shared in a pilgrim lunch together.

Our final leg of the day was from Allambie Reserve Oval to Mary Immaculate Parish Bossley Park. During this leg I had some great discussions with Pilgrims who had spent a few days walking with us. It’s incredible to keep hearing the way in which this Cross continues to touch lives wherever it travels!
Our team of volunteers finished off for the day, however the action continued. The Parish community took part in an all-night Vigil around the Cross & Icon, which started with an evening Mass.


Thursday, 3 July 2008

Liverpool gets one last look at the WYD Cross!

We began walking this morning at Ash Road Sporting Complex in Liverpool. Once again we were joined by some local parishioners including some of the host families from last night. Our walk today was quite peaceful as we travelled along the streets and through the parks.

At Amalfi Memorial Park we were joined by some local school students. It was wonderful to see their excitement at being involved in the 15 Day Walk and to be able to answer their questions. They participated in our prayer service and we particularly remembered the many blessings that we as Australians enjoy and the glory of God in Creation.

At Woodward Park we stopped for another prayer and lunch. It was a chance for people to share their stories about the WYD Cross and what has touched them. One lady shared about when the Cross was last in the Wollongong Diocese in March this year. She told us that her disabled son was unable to walk with the Cross but the procession had stopped near her car so that he could reach through the window and touch the Cross. She was so grateful and believed that her son knew the importance of the Cross despite his intellectual disability.

The walk continued and we were thrilled to be joined by Bishop Fisher who has been very busy in the World Youth Day Office but was keen to join the 15 day Walk for a short time! We finished up at All Saints Church in Liverpool and the parish continued their celebrations into the night.


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Sydney via Ruse & Camden

It's so exciting to be back with the JCI crew after 6 months, and with the walk on Day 2 passing through the townships of Ruse and Camden its a beautiful day to be back with the national JCI Team. With the Sun shining bright and a soft breeze reminding us of Gods presence with us it was the perfect day for the procession.

Starting the day with a Mass at St Thomas More Parish, Ruse we were graced with the pressence of the local Primary School students who helped carry the cross for the first leg of the Journey, followed by the local parishioners doing a great job in carrying for their leg of the journey. With everything going well a fantastic group of Tonga pilgrims took on the load of the cross and from the sound of their singing it was very evident that the spirit of the cross was carrying them with their spirits high and their fantastic voices it created a really beautiful atmosphere as we walked along and shared our expectations and hopes for WYD which is now only just around the corner.

After finishing up at Holy Trinity Church, Minto we moved on to Pat Contista Reserve, Leppington. Arriving a little early before the procession was to begin, the local parishioners had already gathered and it was just so beautiful to see their tremedous faith as they gathered around the cross and prayed the rosary on their knees. This set the tone for an amazingly faith filled procession with the rosary being softly prayed as we made our way up to St Mary Mother of God Church. Culminating in a prayer service and a really quiet and beautiful time to just venerate and spend time before both the cross and the icon.

With the whole day being an uplifting experience for my faith journey I cant wait to continue this journey into the beginning of WYD and the opening mass and all the experiences it will bring along the way.

God Bless Jeff
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