The emphasis of yesterday's vigil, as well as Today's World Youth Day Mass was on commissioning. We, the young Catholics of the world, are called to be agents of renewal and change.
The vigil's prayer service explored the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, and included testimonials from pilgrims. One spoke in English, one in Polish, one in Spanish, one in French, etc. It culminated in Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Today, the Pope continued to expound on his calling to eliminate relativism and materialism, which has brought about a growing "spiritual desert." How can we do this? Through the power of the Holy Spirit. We're called to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and work through us, to transform our whole person so that we act as instruments, vessels of the Holy Spirit.
I read a Sydney based newspaper today, and it seems that World Youth Day has been positively received by the secular, "tough to please" Sydney crowd. At the very least, it seems that Sydney residents appreciated the "positive energy" that the pilgrims have brought along. On the walk out from the Mass, I encountered many residents waving. Hopefully this WYD will bear fruit that lasts in Australia. Chances are that this is what the Lord has intended all along.
Pope Benedict, in his letter inviting Youth to WYD, challenged us all to bring one person to Christ during our pilgrimage. It hit me the other day that our willingness to venture out to "the great Southland of the Holy Spirit," endure the rigors of travel, as well as the hassles of attending a large-scale event, is in itself an act of witness. How we carry ourselves is a testimony to what we believe, and how serious we are about it. I hope and pray that Fordham's presence here has helped to testify to God's love, greatness, and mercy.
Along the way, as well, I've realized that we have brought each other to know Christ in a deeper way. Many thanks are owed, firstly to the Lord, and next to our leaders, who prepared us so well for this journey. Then, there is thanks to the rest of the team, and to all of our family and friends that donated to make this possible.
This is not the end, however. Sometime between now and the flight back to New York, I'll likely blog again, in a sort of Epilogue to this chapter, because Fordham and WYD aren't over...
Three years from now, Fordham will go to Madrid, Spain for the 26th World Youth Day.
In any case, I hope all is well back home with all of you. Thank you for following along. Hopefully we'll have photos up soon to show you. And of course, I'll go more in depth in this post (I'll signify that there is an update with the proper note) with the content of the Pope's homily today. All I can say right now is that Benedict XVI is pretty amazing.
Now it's time to take all of these things back home, and to share them with all.