Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Moving through and being moved by the desert

This morning we packed up into the coach and JCI vehicle and were on the road away from Uluru at 6:00am. The rising sun’s light hit Uluru behind us as we settled in for a very solid day on the road.

The scenery gradually changed around us from rocky, dusty red dirt, to grassy, dusty red dirt, to red dirt pockmarked with piles of white dirt from opal mining. I think it is fair to say that throughout the course of today’s journey the pilgrim group has changed too. We have bonded more, shared more and endured today together. One of the activities of the morning was to sit next to someone we hadn’t yet, to share personally. The time was fruitful and encouraged us to spread the friendships of the group.

We arrived in Coober Pedy in the late afternoon. It is a unique town literally in the middle of the desert. It is so hot that many of the houses and even the Church are underground. I was taken aback by the beauty and feeling of peace in the Church. It was a stark contrast to the arid, windy environment outside. The Cross was too tall for the Church, so it was placed in front of the tabernacle. The whole mass had a peaceful spirit to it. I was deeply moved by how "at home" I felt and I know this feeling was shared by a least a few others. Rediscovering God through the people in the desert and their place was something I will remember.

We arrived at Woomera at about 9:15pm and the locals were waiting expectantly for us. We all piled off the bus and were astounded that the temperature had dropped about 15 degrees (thats the desert for you). We then joined the parishioners in evening prayer with the Cross and Icon present. Taize meditations were used and it was quite profoundly peaceful. Sharing that moment with the Woomera and Roxby Downs community was a brilliant way to finish such a long day of driving.

Back at our accommodation in the old primary school most of us eventually settled down to sleep. We would find out the following morning that the people who came to Woomera to during the height of the detention centre crisis had also slept there. I felt honoured to have stayed in the same place as those brilliant men and women who ultimately made a positive difference. Cheers, Jess


Benita (WYD Officer, Darwin) said...

To the Diocese of Port Pirie from the Diocese of Darwin; The Journey of the Cross and Icon were an incredible blessing in our diocese. From the Tiwi Islands, to Alice Springs, young hearts were touched by the power of the Cross. Young people were embraced by Christ’s open arms of the Cross. Arms of passionate love for each one of us. Mother Mary prayed with us through this beautiful Icon. Our young people enthusiastically received these powerful symbols, moreso than we had ever imagined. As you embark on this incredible journey yourselves, please know that you are in our prayers. May Christ’s unending and passionate love flow through your diocese and touch the hearts of many young people. God Bless!

Sharmila, Ghan Pilgrimage said...

Through this journey of space I have seen beautiful landscapes, met your people and have been a part of an amazing community – that was pilgrimage. Thank you Lord for this trip. I have carried your Cross and the Icon of our Mother into regional and remote communities and to our Indigenous family. Thank you, Lord, for giving me strength to do this! I was nervous and scared but I felt your presence in these 6 days and I have been changed forever. Sharmila

Tim xo, Ghan Pilgrimage said...

Thank you Lord, for this beautiful trip across Australia. This week has taught me a lot.

Andrew, Ghan Pilgrimage said...

Lord it is in you that we live and move and have our being. Your Cross and Icon are beautiful symbols of reconciliation, peace, love and communion and they take these qualities wherever they go through the committed people who choose to carry the Cross around the world. The Cross and Icon is reminiscent of the unity so beautifully evident in the NT landscape and the Australian Aboriginal spirituality. Quite simply, God is love.

Maddy and Alex, Ghan Pilgrimage said...

Thank you for giving us this amazing, life changing journey which allowed us to strengthen our relationship with You and become more in touch with the beautiful world You created!

Fr C J O’Neil, Coober Pedy said...

Thank you for the privilege of entertaining the pilgrims of the Cross and Icon. To be at prayer in Sts Peter’s and Paul’s Church has been a highlight of my journey of priesthood. Many blessings to you all. .

Kelly, Ghan Pilgrimage said...

I’ve been with the Cross for a week taking them both to the heart of Australia, my country. During this journey it is God, you, via the Cross who has journeyed into my heart. For all the people the WYD Cross and Icon touches, I thank you, and for all the people those people touch, I also thank you. Continue to be our light. Amen!
Mary, I’ve had your back this week, I now ask you to have mine always.

Claire V, Great Crossing pilgrim said...

It's good to be able to keep living the Journey vicariously through this blog, so thanks JCI crew for keeping us all informed. I'm keeping you in my prayers as you continue bringing the joy, hope and peace of the Cross to people around Australia...I'm looking forward to November in Adealide :)

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