Journey with our WYD 2013 Pilgrims....

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Last Days....

Off to Viva Rio to have breakfast and to experience catechesis with the Archbishop of Boston. He spoke about being missionaries for the church. We watched a presentation on John Paul 11, viewing his life and his message to live as the Beatitude people. We shared mass with the Canadians, expressing our faith through beautiful music but also moments of silence.

We stayed on at Viva Rio to watch the telecast of the Pope's arrival rather than battle the rain. It was joyful, fun and very memorable to watch the Holy Father join the youth of the world. We had fun photo bombing the live telecast from Viva Rio putting the Bathurst flag up for the world to see.

We walked home to Aussie Central to catch up on much needed sleep. Jenny Bray and Carolyn Wait

More from our Pilgrims......
For me the day started with a walk to Vivo Rio for catechesis. We didn't rap the rosary like yesterday but the music was a great way to start the day.

Before catechesis we were shown a video about Blessed JP II and how he instigated WYD. During the video there was footage of the Cross and Icon. Sitting behind me in catechesis was Fr Chris Ryan who travelled around Australia with the Cross and Icon. As I was watching I was reflecting on how privileged I was to travel with it for a week in 2007 and share in so many peoples' encounters.

The Archbishop of Boston talked to us about how to go out and make disciples of all nations. The thing that struck me was that when I think of 'all nations' it's overwhelming, but when I think off all the nations gathered here in Rio all we really need to do is make a conscious effort to be a disciple in our own communities. How do we act towards others? Do we show in our everyday life that we follow Jesus? We have to be careful about finding the right time to talk to people about our faith. It's not always appropriate to just dive in, (we could inadvertently turn people away). By being a witness, people may notice that we have joy in our lives, that we  are confident in who we are and start asking us questions, then we can talk about faith.

We left Viva Rio not long after Mass to go to Copacabana for the Stations of the Cross. Our first group experience of catching a Rio bus was squishy, the driver kept letting people on even when we thought there was no more room.

We found ourselves a nice spot near station XI, sat down and waited...and waited. Some of us went to the road to see Pope Francis, I saw a lot of heads and cameras, but not the Pope. I did manage to take a random photo of his head though!

Each Station was dramatised as they moved down the beach and had a reflection to go with it based on real life scenarios relevant to young people. We had a great view of Station XI (Jesus is nailed to the cross) about John Paul II's quote "the worst prison is a closed heart".

It was another long day! But full of wonderful experiences.    Jacinta

Day 8
Today we began our true pilgrimage as we journeyed to Copacabana for the Opening Mass. After visiting the Cathedral, where Father Reynold began the day early to collect his Priest  pass to be able to say Mass with Pope Francis on Saturday. We then began to walk on along the coast towards Copacabana, many locals did advise us to take the Metro, however, we followed Father Reynold's lead and continued to walk.

When we arrived at the beach we were greeted by Brazilian music creating an amazing atmosphere. It was lovely to see so many gathered together to celebrate mass. Prior to mass we had a missionary rosary spoken in 5 different languages representing the 5 different continents, Australia was represented by a young girl named Eliza.

Following this the WYD Cross & Icon arrived as the sunset over the coast. Mass was celebrated under a cloudy, wet sky by the Archbishop of Rio. He welcomed us to his city. We still eagerly await presence Papa Francis but are looking forward to our Aussie gathering tomorrow at Viva Rio.  Kristy, Carolyn, Jenny B, Catherine

Day 7
Today was our official tourist day in Rio. After discovering that the line at Maccas is much longer than a local bakery for breakfast, we were met at Aussie Central by our tour guide Wally to see a couple of Rio's iconic sights - Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain.

We had a really good run on traffic, especially given that many of the main roads were closed in preparation for the Pope's arrival. After not too much waiting at all we were on the train to the top of Corcovado, and then climbed he stairs to the statue. The statue is truly breathtaking. As was the crush of people at the top trying to get that all important photo. We were able to spot glimpses of the city below through the cloud cover but the sky overhead was clear.

Our next stop was Sugarloaf Mountain.  This mountain is famous for its unique shape and views over Rio. Unfortunately, both were obscured by the change in weather, which saw a very light drizzle and heavy cloud over everything. As we already had our tickets we were determined to make the most of them, so we loaded onto the cable car to the first level. We weren't able to see much, and after some navigational issues we made it to the line for the second cable car, with monkeys keeping us entertained for the wait. Out of the could came the cable car and we were up again.

The change in climate at the top of the mountain was incredible. Fog all around and several degrees cooler. We spent most of our time here waiting in line to get back down again, with the occasional Mexican wave and random song in the line to keep us entertained. Night had fallen by the time we got back to the second first level, and some of the cloud had broken to give us the beautiful sight of Rio lit up.  Amy Sullivan

Day 6
"When my baby...., When my baby smiles at me I go to Rio" (Peter Allen). Adios Chile, Ola Brazil!

After an unforgettable week in La Pintana Santiago we have finally arrived in Rio De Janeiro. This morning we celebrated our last mass in the chapel at Miserieodiae, led by Fr. Reynold.  We had breakfast Chilean style, eating cake and meringue, and said goodbye to Hector, our guardian angel. 

The bus took us to the airport, and with the guidance of Ingrid ( tour guide) we checked into our flight, and proceeded to our Gate where we enjoyed a massage and, of course, some shopping.

As we ascended into the sky, we overlooked the gorgeous view of the snow covered Andes. After some 4 hrs (or so) of flying, we arrived in Rio, where we met Marcello (named after some actor) who, after a little misdirection, delivered us to Aussie Central at the Pier Maua.  There we were greeted by Gabrielle and other organisers. After some house keeping, we were directed to our beds for the next 7 days where Sarah found herself in a Jen Sandwich ( Jen. R. & Jen. B.) The climate in Brazil is unlike Chile. As soon as we arrived at the airport we were forced to shed a few layers.   Jen R

                                                                                                       PRESENTING OUR GIFT

Day 5
The 'bodyguards' wrote the blog today...... It was a pleasure to serve our Australian friends as "bodyguard". It was very enriching for all of us. It was a beautiful experience to have shared with them, it was very nice to see that there was always available and sincere smile.

Also, Father Chris Sanez has praised the Pilgrims, saying their presence in his Parish was "...blessing for us and everyone was extremely happy. It definitely was the highlight of the year. Today in the Masses, I had the people talk about their experience.  They were moved with emotion.

Day 4
Today was a wonderful day filled with fun, sport and painting.

We arrived at Capilla Padre Hurtado Chapel to spend the day with the people of the parish and the Tasmanian pilgrims. We sang Aussie songs and Shout to The Lord for the Columban Mission societies film crew. The day was then devoted to painting a mural in the chapel featuring Alberto Hurtado the second Chilean saint.

More delicious food was prepared by the Chilean parishioners with the help of some pilgrims. We shared in empanadas and sweet potato donuts with syrup.

The end of the day was spent in prayer with the Tasmanian pilgrims who are moving on to the next part of their travels. We will go to bed tired but happy and thankful for a great day spent with friends.    Jenny Bray



Gluten Free Bread


Pilgrims with Mural


Priest and Parishioners


Day 3
Today we celebrated Mass with Brisbane, Canberra-Golburn, Christchurch, Victoria, Tasmania and the Chillians. Mass was celebrated by Bishop Pedro, Bishop Christopher from Sale, lots of priests and of course Fr Reynold. It was in Spanish and English with a sheet of translations.

The Aussies started the Mass by singing "Trading my Sorrows"with the actions and the chorus in English, Yes Lord and Spanish, Ci Señor. The Our Father was sung to the tune of "Sound of Silence". The Mass showed hope for the church in Australia.

After Mass, Jenny and Kristy lead the procession from the church to the chapel carrying the Australian flag. As always we were accompanied by our bodyguards. Adelete! (Advance!) Was the call as we walked along.

We joined in games while waiting for lunch (Little White Pony, Apogina- Lichi). We watched traditional dances from Chile and Easter Island (Rapa Nui) and also had our own impromptu disco, where Rodolpho and Marie-Bell showed off. Tomorrow we are having a lesson on how to make bebre also known as awesome salsa.

People we have met: 'Danny Devito'- a Chilean priest ; 'Meagui '- the photo bomber. Gospel reflections so far:  Freedom to follow God's ways; Humility and we are all one family.

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Photo 1 - Welcoming Mass; Photo 2 - 'Broken Underpants'; Photo 3 - Rapa Nui Dancers;
Photo 4 - Our Bodyguards; Photo 5 - St. Thomas the Apostle; Photo 6 - Mad, Carolyn, Sarah and Kristy

Day Two
Today we got picked up at our Retreat House and went to Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish. We were met there by our co-ordinators and after a short bus trip, walked into the local government buildings. We first saw the local municipal buildings which also housed a small zoo which had llamas, monkeys, goats, sheep, chickens as well as guinea pigs (not eaten in Chile), an iguana and some monkeys. We continued walking and saw their efforts at recycling where the neighbours send all their vegetable waste (which makes up to 40%) to make up compost. They also had used vegetable oil which gets filtered, separated and made into biodiesel and glycerine. Trucks use some of the biodiesel for fuel and it is also used for generators. We then came back to the Parish and enjoyed lunch.

After lunch, we then walked around the area. We visited the local police station (no we are not in trouble already). We were shown around and had many photo opportunities on the motorbikes and in the paddy wagon. We felt very safe as they told us they would look after us and protect us. We then went to the local fire station and were told about his history as well as having a slide down the pole, just like the professionals but all the people who work as fire fighters are volunteers here. Their money is gained by local fundraising. Our last stop was the Chapel of Saint Alberto Hurtado. He is one of Chile's saints and is renowned for his work with the poor and homeless, particularly the youth.

We have set up a display on Australia in both the local parish church and the chapel. To my students, your gifts of the friendship bracelets was well received. We finished off with mass in English and some Spanish. Another long day!

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Photo 1 - Happy Pilgrims

Photo 2 - The mural behind us tells the history of the fire station.They have a state of the art communications van, a rescue truck and a fire pole in the station. They put out fires, rescue people and clean up chemical spills. They will also help deliver a baby or other first aid. All the firefighters are volunteers and they are funded by donations (there is no government funding). There are forty firefighters at the station and a junior brigade who can become firefighters at the age of eighteen.

Photo 3 - Youth of Chile dressed in their traditional costumes preparing to perform at the Bathurst & Hobart welcoming mass.

Photo 4 - Bathurst pilgrims at Santo Tomas Parish setting up the Australian area of the Parish.

Photo 5 - The Bathurst & Hobart pilgrims on day 2 of their Columban Mission Experience with the Carabineros de Santiago (Police station in Santiago, Chile).

Photo 6 - Bathurst & Hobart pilgrims welcoming mass at Santo Tomas Parish, Santiago

Day 1

We have arrived! And according to the clock, just 2 hours after we left, which makes for one very long Sunday. The plane trip took us first to Auckland and then to Santiago. It was exhausting, as expected, but we made it through as a group without any great drama, so we are off to a good start.

We have just arrived at the retreat house, which will be our home for the next week. Upon arrival we settled into our rooms and were served a very generous lunch. We are all working on our Spanish and listening intently to pick up new words.

Tonight we are headed to our host parish to meet the people and attend a traditional Spanish mass. Until then we are out in the garden of the retreat centre, looking at the view of the snow-capped Andes mountain range and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.


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