Monday, 29 October 2007

Handover Across Tooleybuc Bridge

Ballarat Diocese today bid farewell to the Cross, Icon of Our Lady and Indigenous Message Stick in a handover ceremony on the Tooleybuc Bridge over the mighty Murray River. Twenty students from Swan Hill’s MacKillop College, along with Bishop Peter Connors and local WYD co-ordinator Stacey, formed the Ballarat representation. At the centre of the bridge, Bishop Chris Toohey and the Wilcania-Forbes JCI team joined in the carrying of the Cross and Icon of Our Lady, for the first moment holding these symbols of faith for their diocese. Together both teams walked to the nearby river bank, as the bridge also forms part of the main highway.

Local students from Tooleybuc Central School, along with parishioners from regions nearby gathered to both welcome and say goodbye. Some had spent time in their presence the night before at Swan Hill, and others had encountered the celebrations earlier in the week at Mildura. The young students were fascinated by the miniature crosses that are given to everyone that comes before the Cross, that are handmade by St Vincent De Paul Men’s Shed in Sydney. As each child told me who they planned to give the crosses to, I was able to learn more about their families and the communities they live within.

We have now entered another diocese that is in the midst of drought. The only rain falls at the wrong time of year, or evaporates by the time the water hits the soil. These communities show very evident strength and a real caring for each other. One lady told me that people meet together a lot for barbeques and gatherings in an effort to keep the men talking and to help each other stand resilient during a time that can sometimes cause heartbreak when yet another year’s crop is lost.

After a whole school liturgy before the Cross and Icon at MacKillop College the same twenty students that joined us in Tooleybuc walked the massive symbols with another thirty of their peers to the St Mary’s primary students from Swan Hill and Sea Lake. As I spoke to these students, they were proud to be taking part in the very long pilgrimage by foot, so they could be the ones ensuring the younger students did not miss out on prayer with these well travelled items.

Complete! (Photo on Left) Ballarat's basket showcasing items that represent each community we visited during the diocese's time with the Cross, Icon of Our Lady and Message Stick. Two Jars of Sand comprise soil from each place a celebration was held.

Jacs :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Team,
The blog is just fantastic. Reading your accounts and looking at the photos make me smile! I hope you're having a great time in Wilcannia-Forbes. The stories I'm hearing from around the Diocese are amazing. So many people have been touched by the cross and icon, but also touched by your presence and words. Keep up the fantastic work. You are definitely having a major impact on hundreds of young Australians.
Lots of love and hugs, Stacey

Anonymous said...

Hi Team, I missed you in the Ballarat Diocese but I did seem to follow in many places just a few days afterwards . You left behind an amazing sense of good will, hope for the future and a connection with the cross and icon that was a new experience for so many young people. In Mildura, those who carried the cross at the Mildura Show admist all their peers demonstated a life stance, while the young children in Ouyen will never forget their first communion day. At Halls' Gap when you were able to connect climbing over a fallen log across a pathway while carrying the cross with our life journey will surely be a more memorable lesson than any homily or lesson.
People will remember your patience, enthusiasm and your ability to connect with the young people you touch each day.
What a wonderful gift. Keep up the good work! You are touching people in ways you will never imagine

Anonymous said...

Hi Team,
How's it going? Yes a few weeks later and we are still getting amazing feedback and stories in Mildura! The impact of the Cross, Icon and the stories that you bring too certainly have touched and left a lasting impression on many.
Take care and enjoy the adventure!
Ciao Ciao Antonette

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