Madrid, Spain, Aug 16, 2011 / 18:18 pm
The Catholic Church in Spain will benefit greatly from this week’s World Youth Day – and in ways that can’t be imagined yet, say Australian Catholics who hosted the 2008 gathering in Sydney.
“God works in many and mysterious ways - but God is at work,” said Cardinal George Pell of Syndey, after attending a rally of over 4,000 Australian pilgrims in Madrid on August 16.
“One of things we’ve learned in Sydney is that so many spontaneous growths and activities have sprung up themselves since World Youth Day. We haven’t really organized them, but when you plant seeds in the hearts of people they germinate and flower in very different ways,” he told CNA.
Today’s Australian gathering was held in the indoor Palacio de Deportes stadium in central Madrid. The event featured various testimonies from young people who had attended WYD in Sydney.
“Yeah, until I had to write my testimony I hadn’t realized just how much World Youth Day in Sydney has changed my life,” said 29-year-old teacher, Cheryl Fernandez, from Sydney.
She told the crowd of Australians how “it led me to know more about my faith and share it with others.”
Fernandez advised rookie WYD pilgrims “to take it all in this week. It can be really overwhelming so just let the Holy Spirit do his work.”
The two-hour celebration also featured indigenous Australian culture provided by didgeridoo player Robert Dann and several young aboriginal dancers. Time was also devoted to studying the life of Saint Mary MacKillop, the 19th century nun who last year became the first Australian to be canonized.