As we pass the 70th day until World Youth Day starts in Sydney, New Zealand pilgrims are starting to realise what sharing hosting actually means.
In the week leading up to the July 15 start of WYD, New Zealand as joint host with Australia—the first time another nation has been allowed to share hosting—will be blessed with a few thousand pilgrims from all over the world.
This segment is known as Days in the Diocese and gives pilgrims a chance to experience the culture of the host country. So from July 7 to 14 some 400 pilgrims will touch down in the dioceses of Palmerston North and Wellington for a cultural, social and faith-filled exchange—spending time in our parishes, experiencing life in a Kiwi household, praying, eating and walking with us as pilgrims to WYD in Sydney. It is such an amazing part of the WYD journey, and a part that anyone who has been to WYD has never forgotten.
Another interesting experience for us now is the visit of the registrations manager from the WYD office in Sydney, John Sweeting. John has been in New Zealand recently for a week-long series of meetings with all group leaders throughout the country and WYD coordinators in all six dioceses. It was a great opportunity for all of those in the thick of the organising process to pose questions, issues and challenges and to gain insight into the inner workings of the logistical challenge that is WYD for the hosting nation.
John and the registrations office, and the registration website, Egeria, are processing the needs and payments for literally hundreds of thousands of people from across Australia, New Zealand, Oceania and the rest of the world.
The website, Egeria, is named after a young woman, who was the first recorded pilgrim. During the fourth century she travelled four years from the Rhône Valley in France to the Holy Land. We are a bit more fortunate—our journey to Australia, with the assistance of jet planes, will take more like four hours. However, the reality of being a pilgrim is that we have been on this journey to WYD for many months. Thanks for walking and reading and supporting us on this journey!
Photo shows a fundraising social in Wellington West.