15 July 2008

A pilgrimage day

It's been a true day of pilgrimage, sometimes offered well and sometimes not.

I left with our seminarian early this morning to go to #1 Grafton Street, where we were told to go to receive our accreditation for Masses and such.

At #1 Grafton Street, on the South end of Sydny, we were told to go to the Opera House, on the North end of Sydney.

Upon arriving at the Opera House, we entered a large stairway filled with priests, Bishops and seminarians (and probably a few deacons, too). It wasn't long before someone made the announcement that anyone who e-mailed a photo to the WYD organizers previously should proceed to the top of the stairs to receive their accreditation and official IDs.

I turned to hand our seminarian my hot chocolate so I could retrieve my letter from Bishop Lucas from my backpack and proceeded up the stairs, thinking he was following me. When I reached the top I realized he wasn't behind me; there was no turning back and I no longer had my hot chocolate.

I reached the desk to pick up my ID only to be told that it wasn't ready. I e-mailed the photo some six months ago or more. Nobody seemed to know why it wasn't ready and I was told to join a line of some 100 priests who waited to take their seat at one of only four computers.

After moving through the line over the course of three hours and chatting with a few priests from Germany I finally received my accreditation.

I then tried to find our seminarian.

While I waited in line an announcement was made that seminarians needed to register at Hyde Park. Unable to find the proper location at Hyde Park I was informed by the registration tent that seminarians were registering North of Hyde Park in the WYD Cross and Icon tent. North of Hyde Park I was informed that the Cross and Icon were not near Hyde Park but were still at the University. After searching for an hour and a half I gave up and returned to the hotel hoping to find him there. He wasn't there.

After quickly freshening, one of the pilgrims and I boarded a water taxi to Barangaroo for the opening Mass of WYD.

The Mass was powerful. Some 140,000 pilgrims attended the Mass. I was one of who knows how many concelebrants. Cardinal Pell preached an excellent homily, the text of which I hope will soon be posted.

It's been a long day, all in all, and I can't really think well enough to post thoughts of any real significance on the Mass.

We'll be taking a quiet, lazy morning and I hope to put something together for you then.

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