Year of Youth 2018

Australian WYD Pilgrims Gather for Celebration in Rio

Last edited 7th August 2013

Australian WYD Pilgrims Gather for Celebration in Rio

Music, dancing, testimonials, prayer and blessings - that was the celebration at "Aussie Central" in downtown Rio de Janeiro for the Australian pilgrims who have travelled from around Australia to be at World Youth Day in Brazil. Watch the full event at

Around 2,000 people attended the Australian Gathering - school and university students, young professionals, youth leaders, teachers. Priests, bishops, archbishops and religious also joined the enthusiastic group. For many it brought back memories of World Youth Day Madrid - and even Sydney in 2008.

The Australian Ambassador to Brazil, Mr Brett Hackett welcomed the gathering saying he was "extremely proud" to see many Australian flags amongst the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in Rio de Janeiro.

Bishop Anthony Fisher, said his group of pilgrims from the Parramatta Diocese have already faced their own challenges on this trip, mainly centred on transportation. Firstly getting from Peru to Rio and then on a seemingly uneventful train trip back down from nearby Sugarloaf mountain, until the train was most unexpectedly delayed thanks to a giant sloth found spread across the tracks.

However Bishop Fisher told the gathering this was a most wonderful time and encouraged the pilgrims to see World Youth Day through the eyes of faith.

Fr Chris Ryan also asked the group to spend some time talking to Jesus, asking Him what He wants them to do with their lives while Archbishop Costelloe from Perth encouraged the pilgrims to live the WYD Rio theme - "Go make disciples of all the nations".

The message was clear from everyone. Live World Youth Day, let it be faith-filled. Malcolm Hart, Senior Youth Ministry Projects Officer for the ACBC said;"When you return home, think differently. Challenge yourself to find new opportunities To find the love of God in your lives. Ask yourself: " how can you step up and make disciples?"

And then it was time for more music and dancing - with age no barrier. Seen rocking in the aisles Bishop Julian Porteous, Bishop Terry Brady and Bishop Peter Comensoli, auxiliary bishops from the Archdiocese of Sydney.

The final address came from Cardinal George Pell.

"I think I am here like a cup of camomile tea - to settle things down after a wonderful celebration." The crowd answered with further loud applause.

Cardinal Pell went on to say ; "I would like to speak on behalf of all those who are no longer young, but young in heart.

What strength and consolation we draw from your faith, your friendship and your enthusiasm. I thank you on behalf of all of us."

He then gave the group the final blessing and wished them well for the upcoming events with Pope Francis.

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