Thank you is a fabulous phrase. Those two little words say so much. And so first and foremost—thank you!
Thank you for the effort that you and your community have put into the preparation for World Youth Day. Thank you for the fundraising, the pastoral preparation, for opening up your homes and lives and for all the prayer. In five weeks (July 6), international pilgrims will begin to arrive for Days in the Diocese on their way to Sydney and the following week, around 4000 New Zealand young people will join them in pilgrimage to Sydney. This journey would never have been possible without your time, support, prayer and commitment to the young people of your community.
But where to from here? What about when the pilgrims come home? New Zealand’s World Youth Day journey has been likened to building a cathedral; there are a number of similarities in time, effort and financial investment spent on this event. And like any cathedral, we don’t want to leave it empty once it is built. World Youth Day may be one event, but the legacy from this journey will last much longer. Now is the perfect time to begin to dream into and make definite plans around what this legacy means for your community and how it might best enrich and strengthen your community for not only those pilgrims returning but also for those that will welcome them back.
With this in mind, there are four significant events to note, two to reflect on, and two to look forward to:
1. New Zealand Youth Week 26 May-1 June (see www.nzaahd.org.nz). We’ve just celebrated it, and the timing seemed perfect for our faith community with the 2008 theme of ‘relate’; encouraging the community to spend time with young people (before and after World Youth Day), to listen to young people’s views (how do they see the legacy looking in their community?), and to take an interest in what young people are doing (how could some of these interests be built into your community’s vision?).
2. Launch of www.connect.org.nz. It’s all about helping young Kiwis to live fully and be connected to Christ, the church and each other. It forms the internet hub of young Catholics in Aotearoa New Zealand, filled with exciting content, resources, links to social networks and relevant sites for Catholic young people.
And to come:
3. WYD Pilgrim Commissioning will happen throughout the country on Sunday July 6, with a focus not just on sending, but on welcoming home and a challenge for communities to be truly prepared to do this.
4. Days in the Diocese are ‘all about us’—the local faith community. So get out there, make the most of local celebrations and let’s be community at our best.
So, with all that has been, all that is happening and all that is to come what does the legacy of World Youth Day mean to you? What does it mean to your community? How will it look? How will it feel? What needs to be done to ensure that legacy of World Youth Day is not simply a good idea but a living, dynamic reality? We’ve built a cathedral; now let’s ensure it is never empty!
Contact your local diocesan offices for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org and