Written by Sherry
Friday, 11 July 2008 08:16
30,000 young Catholics filled Melbourne's Telstra Dome last night for a Commissioning Mass that would send them off to Sydney and World Youth Day. It is the culmination of the "Days in the Diocese" that we've been blogging about below.
I have been stunned at the relentlessly negative press that WYD has been getting in OZ, but this article was almost entirely positive:
I did enjoy this anectdote:
"Even the protests were more muted than organisers had suggested. Secular Party president John Perkins had a sandwich board proclaiming: "You think your religion is true. Prove it. $100,000 reward."
He had a couple of supporters on one side, and two young men, Jeshua and Joel, with a texta-inscribed cardboard placard, who came on the spur of the moment. "We've had photos and smiles from most people, and been blessed eight times," Joel said. "
Good on you. Blessing your enemies makes 'em crazy!
Of course, the next line was:
Another group of four found takers for all 500 of their souvenir condoms.
This description of the Commissioning Mass just in from Clara:
The Mass was an extraordinary display of energy and colour. We were sitting in front of the Lithuanians who have with them the largest flag made of parachute fabric which they unrolled overhead (including the heads of our group) and it covered an entire stand at the sports stadium! The Mexican wave during the pre-Mass entertainment was very effective especially when it went through the two stands of priests whose robes contributed to the flowing effects. There were a number of cardinals from overseers - the most prominent being Rodriques from Hondouras and Rapier from South Africa. Cardinal Rodriques has had some excellent press coverage as the "Cardinal with sax appeal" building on his reputation as an excellent saxophonist. On the more serious side, he spoke of the hope which WYD gives him and the important role it has in bringing together first world and third world youth.
Back to the focus on Asia and Oceania - we have noted large numbers from Papua New Guinea and East Timor, many of whom have been sponsored by Australian parishes. There are record numbers from Fiji. The Vietnamese have their largest contingent ever at any WYD - their proximity to Australia and the fact than many have family here has boosted their numbers. We were fascinated that they are flying the old South Vietnamese flag. They also LOVE Dominicans. The Basques are also flying their own flag and sporting smart black berets and orange scarves.
We had at least a dozen from Trinidad and Tobago attend our Siena Institute presentation. I commented to them that their WYD delegation must be larger than their Olympic team. I recall they only sent three or four to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006. Look out for Called and Gifted stuff happening in Trinidad and Tobago as I have sold complete sets of materials to them.
Please pray for Clara, Fr. Anthony and our whole CSI team during the next week. They are already feeling the effort, were up to midnight last night for the Mass and have only one day to pack before leaving for Sydney. They need a shot of supernatural energy and clarity of mind over the next week - and a chance to collapse afterwards!