‘You see, all this is for your benefit, so that the more grace is multiplied among people, the more thanksgiving there will be, to the glory of God.’
(2 Corinthians 4:15)
I have no doubt that grace was multiplied among us during our hosting of World Youth Day Pilgrims from several countries for ‘Days in the Diocese’. Grace was multiplied among us and I, for one, give heartfelt thanks.
Days in the Diocese and World Youth Day, for those of us who were privileged to be in Sydney, were days of grace. They were all and more than I ever wished and hoped for. As St Paul wrote to various communities and thanked them for their efforts to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, I also want to say THANK YOU to all who have been involved over many many months in preparing for World Youth Day and Days in the Diocese.
During Days in the Diocese our parishes and pastoral areas were brought together in a wonderful way and provided wonderful hospitality to our guests. There were profound moments of prayer, beautifully prepared liturgies which embraced many cultures and yet brought us together as one people.
There were very enjoyable social times, generous cooperation in service projects which embraced many different forms of helping others; there was fun and laughter and shared family experiences. Powhiri at various marae were experienced as powerful, with many of our visitors being full of admiration for the opportunity to participate in Māori culture. The Archdiocese of Wellington and the city of Sydney experienced something of what Pope John Paul wrote about in his Apostolic Letter Novo Millenio Ineunte:
‘I saw them swarming through the city, happy as young people should be, but also thoughtful, eager to pray, seeking “meaning” and true friendship.’ ( NMI 9)
In Sydney, Randwick Racecourse became the ‘Southern Cross Precinct’. At the papal vigil with young people on the Saturday night in Sydney, the Archdiocese of Wellington took the limelight with Josie Leota being one of the commentators for that vigil.
As the Kiwi Ambassador for Wellington and as a member of the Samoan Chaplaincy, Josie fulfilled her role with poise and with great dignity.
I express heartfelt thanks to all who were involved in any way to make these events such a success. To our Diocesan WYD committee, the Days in the Diocese committee, to all host families, parishes and pastoral areas, thanks.
St Paul ended most of his letters with advice, thanks and prayers. I, too, assure you of my thanks and prayers. I end with the words of commissioning which Pope Benedict XVI used in the final Mass.
Go forth into the world in peace;
be of good courage, hold fast to that which is good.
render to no one evil for evil,
strengthen the fainthearted;
support the weak;
help the afflicted, honour all people,
love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.