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For something different…….. July 25, 2008

Posted by Mistress B in Ramblings.

I thought I’d share something of what the kids and I got up in Sydney before we picked up Widdle Shamrock.

Some of you may and some of you may not know that I’m a good catholic girl. OK OK, I guess that depends on your interpretation of the word ‘good’ in relation to catholics.  😉 Also, my kids attend a catholic school, and I’m only 35 myself so World Youth Day held a bit of interest for us.

Anyhow, we went to see the pope on Thursday.

We started our day by taking the train into Circular Quay and we caught a ferry around the Darling Harbour.

TJ was quite taken with the replica Endevour near the wharf where we got off.

We took our time walking back around to the other side of the Harbour and stopped to play in the fountain.

We had lunch at Subway and sat out the front soaking in the atmosphere. There were SO MANY FREAKING PEOPLE!! TJ was quite interested in the different robes some of the foreign priests and nuns were wearing. The girls and I were more interested in trying to distinguish between some of the different groups of young people singing and dancing their way around the place.

After lunch we made our way to the nearest bus stop and caught a ride to Hyde Park where we bumped into some friends from home – a miracle itself! We had a sticky beak at St Mary’s Cathedral and the Jesus Walks statues around the park.

The statues were really interesting and they were everywhere! All of them are different, all of them expressing different ideas of faith. The 33 statues were placed in different places around Sydney, we found statues at Darling Harbour, Hyde Park and Bondi Beach. Apparently they will later be auctioned off with the proceeds going to support Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Streets program.

We eventually fought through the throng made our way back to Circular Quay to watch the flotilla. We managed to find ourselves a posie right on the fence and were soon pressed in as people lined up 8 deep behind us to catch a glimpse of His Holiness on the boat. All the ferries were sounding their horns, people were clapping and waving flags around. It was awesome! We found out later that some other friends of ours had been on one of the boats involved in the flotilla.

After the flotilla had passed, we moved to a park where a big screen had been set up to watch the Holy Father arrive at Barangaroo.(You can just see the pope on the middle deck with his red and white vestments)

Tj had some fun here snapping pics of the big screen.

I quite enjoyed his address after the welcome. I was particularly struck by these parts –

Dear friends, life is not governed by chance; it is not random. Your very existence has been willed by God, blessed and given a purpose (cf. Gen 1:28)! Life is not just a succession of events or experiences, helpful though many of them are.

It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this – in truth, in goodness, and in beauty – that we find happiness and joy. Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.

Christ offers more! Indeed he offers everything! Only he who is the Truth can be the Way and hence also the Life. Thus the “way” which the Apostles brought to the ends of the earth is! life in Christ……..

The task of witness is not easy. There are many today who claim that God should be left on the sidelines, and that religion and faith, while fine for individuals, should either be excluded from the public forum altogether or included only in the pursuit of limited pragmatic goals. This secularist vision seeks to explain human life and shape society with little or no reference to the Creator. It presents itself as neutral, impartial and inclusive of everyone. But in reality, like every ideology, secularism imposes a world-view. If God is irrelevant to public life, then society will be shaped in a godless image, and debate and policy concerning the public good will be driven more by consequences than by principles grounded in truth.

Yet experience shows that turning our back on the Creator’s plan provokes a disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of the created order (cf. 1990 World Day of Peace Message, 5). When God is eclipsed, our ability to recognize the natural order, purpose, and the “good” begins to wane. What was ostensibly promoted as human ingenuity soon manifests itself as folly, greed and selfish exploitation. And so we have become more and more aware of our need for humility before the delicate complexity of God’s world…………….

My dear friends, God’s creation is one and it is good. The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection upon the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God himself and thus inviolable. Our world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division, of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises. Our hearts and minds are yearning for a vision of life where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. This is the work of the Holy Spirit! This is the hope held out by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is to bear witness to this reality that you were created anew at Baptism and strengthened through the gifts of the Spirit at Confirmation. Let this be the message that you bring from Sydney to the world!

I don’t agree with some of the churches teachings, but I think that it has a real message of hope for our youth and I think it is desperately needed in today’s world.

After the papal address, we made our way through the crowd to the street in front of the Circular Quay train station to wait for the papal motorcade.

We couldn’t anywhere near the barrier, though some very nice ladies let TJ squeeze through in front of them. I only managed one really crappy photo as the motorcade was moving very quickly and I was having to hold my camera above my head to have any hope of getting any kind of shot at all.

After the motorcade was past we waited a while for the crowd to disapate slightly then decided on a night time ferry ride.

We had counted on being able to get off in Darling Harbour like we had done earlier in the day, walking up to Town Hall station and catching the train back to where we were staying only to find that they had completely blocked off all exits except for those leading to central station which was quite a long walk away after such a busy day. We joined in the sea of yellow and orange backpacks heading for central though and enjoyed the singing and chatter of the pilgrims as we made our way to the station.

It was a really incredible day and something that I know will stay with us for quite some time to come.



1. Dina - July 25, 2008

Hey, we’re the same age!!

I don’t think I could handle all those crowds.

2. wjcsydney - July 25, 2008

Bettina, thanks so much for sharing. I live in Sydney but somehow missed it all with what’s been going on in my life. It’s been an awesome couple of weeks for Jesus in Sydney with Hillsong and then WYD (btw what’s with the Day – they need to rename it WYW!)

3. Bettina - July 25, 2008

Dina – the crowds was part of the experience! lol I will admit to getting a bit freaked out by having that many people pressing forward on us at the Quay when the flotilla appeared though.

Wendy – more like a month! We had pilgrims in our local diocese a week earlier and are expecting more this week. But yes, it has been quite a couple of weeks. And I must say that it was the best visit I’ve had in terms of people being helpful when we needed adivce on getting around.

4. Jayne - July 25, 2008

Crikey! I couldn’t have handled those crowds.
But it was lovely weather and a grand setting for it to happen in 🙂

5. tiff - July 25, 2008

Wow it sounds magical!

Glad you had a lovely time.

6. Bettina - July 25, 2008

Jayne – yes it was indeed a grand setting

Tiff – thanks darl.

7. river - July 25, 2008

That Jesus statue is beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it. Auctioning them for the Youth off the Streets program is a great idea. I hope they raise lots of money.

8. magneto bold too - July 26, 2008

Loving catching up with your last few posts. You are having an awesome time babe, so jealous!

9. planningqueen - July 26, 2008

It would have been a fantastic experience for the kids. We watched quite a bit of it on TV, My kids (and me too) particularly liked the Stations Of The Cross. Thanks for sharing your photos.

10. widdleshamrock - July 27, 2008

So did the pope find Jesus on the streets of Sydney.

MWAH!!!!!! Just got in.

11. Anja - July 28, 2008

Hey, WS.

As we know, God drinks at the Sando. Jesus works at the 7/11 and hands out the red frogs to the lost and wasted.

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