Approximately 500 students and their teachers gathered on May 17 at Holy Cross Catholic College Ryde for an exciting day of information, inspiration and formation in preparation for their upcoming WYD pilgrimage to Poland.
Holy Cross Catholic College hosted the event, generously making available the College Chapel, hall, new learning spaces and playing fields.
Mr Robert Haddad, Head of Evangelisation at Sydney Catholic Schools, welcomed all of the pilgrims and encouraged them to embrace both the day and the journey ahead to Poland.
The day featured a keynote presentation from Jason Evert, a world-renowned speaker from the United States. Jason challenged the audience to take this opportunity of pilgrimage to reflect on their lives and the future choices they will be making in terms of relationships and sexuality. (https://www.youtube.com/user/jasonevert)
The event also featured American Catholic singer and song writer Steve Angrisano, who has performed at a number of World Youth Days and will again in Poland. Steve’s performance included humour and games, as well as stories and songs to excite and inspire pilgrims about World Youth Day.(http://www.steveangrisano.com/)
Following these presentations the pilgrims celebrated Mass, led by Fr Michael McLean and many of the World Youth Day Bus Chaplains. This was a special celebration of prayer in preparation of the journey ahead
Our day concluded with Bus Group Gatherings, where the pilgrims met the students and staff who will be sharing their bus group experience. This was also an opportunity to receive updates on the final stages of pilgrimage preparations.
In many ways the day was a “mini WYD” experience as it contained the elements of pilgrimage (to Holy Cross College from across Sydney), meeting new people from other places (Bus Group Gatherings), fun, games and music (Steve Angrisano and the Youth Ambassadors), catechesis (Jason Evert and Fr Michael McLean) and a special celebration of Mass.
Everyone could feel the excitement in the air as the group considered what lies ahead. Pilgrims will travel through Italy, Prague or the Holy Land, followed by the week of World Youth Day with millions of young people from around the world in Krakow, Poland. The pilgrimages will culminate in Zakopane, Poland for a retreat among the beautiful Tatra mountain ranges.
This formation day complimented a range of preparation activities taking place at school and regional levels, and was a wonderful celebration for the pilgrims as they get ready for their final steps towards Poland