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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back from World Youth Day 2008

Hello fellow Legionaries! I just got back from Sydney after attending World Youth Day 2008. As of now, I am still sorting out my thoughts and the rotting emails I've received these past two weeks.

My mind is not yet capable to recap everything that I've experienced in WYD, so I guess my reflections will come in short blogs when inspiration (and memory!) prompts me.

Going to WYD has indeed been a blessing. Getting to know the people from CSS better and seeing the positives and negatives of everyone (including myself) has been an eye-opener. Many of us came with expectations and seeking to find answers. Some were perhaps waiting for some particularly miraculous or grand moment to help us in our renewal of faith.

But something Fr. Val said during the last mass he celebrated with us before departing Sydney, stuck with me. He said that whether we were disappointed or not, if there was one thing that we should have obtained after the whole thing, it should be a greater love for the Church. And I think that for me, personally, it has been the case. I renewed the fragile tie I had with my Lord. And after seeing so many nations united under one church, one faith, one shepherd, I was extremely encouraged and hopeful for the future of the the Catholic Church.

One amusing experience that I had was when my group boarded the train on our way home on the first day of WYD week. We were just talking amongst ourselves. Then suddenly one Polish Catholic introduced himself to us and just started talking to us. Then a priest from Colombia came in at the next station and we greeted each other as well. At the next station, some German pilgrims boarded the carriage and started singing "I love you, Jesus" complete with actions. And we started singing with them, without thinking that it was weird or strange. Afterwards, we talked to two guys from Melbourne about their own parishes. For me, that one night was very special. It may strike anyone else as mundane and insignificant but for me, I was just happy because we were strangers, and yet this one Church brought us together. Just as Pope Benedict mentioned during the Saturday night vigil at Randwick Racecourse, the Holy Spirit's "particular quality is unity."

Thanks to all the people who prayed for the CSS contingent and for the Holy Father and for the success of WYD.

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