July 15th, 2008

Marist Laity Australia
World Youth Day 2008

Tuesday, 15 July in Sydney!

World Youth Day has begun, and what a day it was!

A band of Marist Family volunteers gathered at  St Patrick’s Church Hill to welcome pilgrims to this historic
Marist site, bordering the Rocks area of Sydney.

This is not an overstatement.

It was an invasion of joy and an outpouring of goodwill!

Young people from many countries, one minute laughing, chatting, taking photos, the next minute, silent in
prayer before the sacred relics of St Peter Chanel and St Marcellin Champagnat.

The crypt at St Pat’s has been divided into an antechamber, where the pilgrims enter. Stunning banners of
Marcellin, Colin, Perroton and Chavoin tell something of the founders of the Marist enterprise. Our Marist Laity
Australia banner is also there.

Then, pilgrims enter a truly beautiful sacred space. Relics of our 2 Marist Saints, Chanel and Champagnat, and
images of these two great men, soft, meditative music and some beautiful flower arrangements give people the
opportunity to pray, ponder and wonder the mystery that is God.

I spoke with pilgrims from USA, El Salvadore, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, France, Italy, New Zealand, Fiji,
Solomon Islands, New Guinea, Sri Lanka – yes, and even some Ozzies!! Some were young Marists or had
Marist connections. Others were keen to see and experience what we had to offer.

An added attraction is the Marist Tent, offering tea, coffee and hot chocolate as well as guest speakers every
couple of Hours. Br David Hall fms and Donna Mulhearn gave powerful talks, David on Mary in the Church and
Donna on the topic, “Who would Jesus bomb if he were here today?” Donna is a peace activist and was a
human shield in the lead-up to the Iraq War. In between speakers there is entertainment – music and singing by
various artists.

In the afternoon, Sr Noelene and I ducked down to George Street. It was a wave of witness to Jesus Christ.

It was so refreshing to see thousands of young people, intoxicated with Faith and Joy, abandoning themselves
to these gifts of the Spirit, instead of alcohol and drugs

One can only imagine how this collective energy and enthusiasm  will affect all those other young Sydneyites
who work in the CBD and are not involved in WYD.

Will they, too catch the Spirit?

I certainly did!!

Maria Baden
Marist Laity Australia

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