Wednesday, July 30, 2008


So, as official Quotemaster of the group, I now bring you some of the best off-yet-so-much-on-the-record moments from our WYD pilgrimage....enjoy!

Since 90% of the quotes came from our beloved Fr. John Martin (aka Padre Formaggio), I'm featuring his wisdom first:

"I always used to enjoy listening to the words of Jesus, but now it's just annoying!" (describing the notorious Jesus doll....and this was before we had even left the country...)

"Jesus' words aren't practical!" (also talking about the Jesus doll)

"I have an announcement: I have wet wipes."

Rakhi: "Fr, could you marry anyone on this trip?"
Padre: "I'm not allowed....I'm a monk."

"Last night, as we were wandering through the land of darkness and gloom....." (describing when the guys got lost on the way to the Opera House)

"If all else fails, we'll adore the Lord."

Jerry: "You were supposed to pass [the empty ice-cream cup] on to someone before we left the train!"
Padre: "Well you see I'm wearing my collar so I have to be careful....I don't want people to think What kind of a priest is this? He gives me rubbish!"

"It's idolatry because we're worshipping a doll."

"Check it out!" (the Padre's famous dance move)

"Never blog in the shower."

"You never know when you'll need a spork."

"I love penance horror stories!"

"I crown you Queen Duct Tape!" (to Laura)

me: "What doesn't kill me makes me stranger."
Padre: "But you're so strange already!"

"The bird is 80 years old....but he doesn't look a day over 45!"

Fr. Bernard: "Some Presbyterian chaplains are coming to the cottage next."
Padre: "Oh let's not clean for them!"

"World Youth Day pilgrims, GET A GRIP!" (to us as we were very slap-happy and playing with the overhead lights on our last flight)

Quotes from other pilgrims:

"There's no such thing as a manly ferry!" ~Tony

"We don't want Jesus flashing people.....they already think Americans are crazy!"~Rakhi

"We have to find out who invented pants!"~me, Jerry, Rakhi

"Awkward....Rakhi's...."~Jerry, referring to Rakhi's luggage

"Time to strip"~Rakhi

"I'm Rubbish-Man!"~Tony

"I'm growing my own set of natural mittens on my face"~Tony

"This game is about patience"~Jerry

"Do we have any holy water? If not we can use Gatorade"~Laura

"It's a blessing that there are so many different languages....that way we can laugh at people's accents!"~Laura

me: "It's good in theory....."
Laura: "So is Communism"

"I'm catching my 16th wind!"~me

Rakhi: "That was a self-deprecating you have to say two nice things about yourself"
Jerry: "Ok....I'm good looking and weigh the correct amount"

"Toes are way over-rated"~Jerry

Padre: "How would one pray obnoxiously?"
Sandra: "Oh Anna could find a way!"

Quotes from other people we ran across:

"Hey Banana-Man!"~lady at coffee-shop, to Jerry

Parent@zoo: "Feed the bird!"
Kid: "No, he'll beak me!"

"You can't go wrong with Jesus and Detroit!"~kid from Philly, who admired the Jesus doll

"You'll probably end up on page 3....that's where they put all the topless women stories"~Matthew, on the ferry

"Are you becoming a monk tonight?"~random drunk kid

"You're from Detroit? Where are the black fellas?"~also random drunk kid

"Caution, I'm hot"~lid on McDonald's cup (don't ask)

"Well, as my dad told me on my 18th birthday, get your stuff and go!"~flight attendant on last flight home

"These words of Jesus are not practical"~Cardinal Pell (just like the Padre said!)

Any more that you guys remember, feel free to add! Love you all!:)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Take a picture in your mind....and remember..."

So it's been almost a week since we returned from the Land Down Under.....I've recovered from my jet-lag, told my stories, and posted my pictures on pretty much all respects, the pilgrimage is over.....and yet very much is still with me. I'm reminded of Bishop Flores' words at the end of the Detroit Mass. He said "Many of you are taking pictures on your cameras, but I also want you to take a picture in your mind, of all that goes on this week.....and remember!" (Star Trek pose...) I took his words to heart.....and this is what my picture would look like....

My picture is of thousands of youth from countries across the world, marching through the streets waving their respective flags, praying and singing out loud, cheering, hugging and high-fiving each other, united in's of camping out on a cold and windy night and rising in the morning to celebrate Mass in the middle of a racetrack, praying with as much fervor as if I were in a's of beautiful scenes of Australian cities and countryside and the smiling hospitality of everyone we's of my 8 beloved brothers and sisters in Christ journeying with me, all of us sharing buses, boats, trains, planes, adventures, jokes, prayers, and's of the overwhelming grace and power of the Holy Spirit that was poured out, and a change in my own heart, as God showed me things that I sort of knew all along but needed to go away to really see.

So I'm back home, things are "back to normal," and World Youth Day is over for another 3 years. But, as the Holy Father said, this is just the beginning of the mission. I do feel like a part of me is permanently changed, and I'm just a little bit stronger, happier, and more ready to "be a witness" in every part of my life. I hope and pray that this experience will be a jump-start to a closer walk with God, and that all the seeds that were sown will bear fruit one hundredfold....for me and for everyone who took part in the pilgrimage. So goodnight all, God bless, and REMEMBER!:)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Home Safe

This post is for Scott, who wanted to know that we all got home safe....;-)

We did indeed....after the longest Wednesday ever, we all got back safe and sound (well, except for Tony and Christa, who are still in LA....I'm sure they're having a great time, though!)

I'll post more later....I'm actually off to Mackinac Island with my family this weekend (surprise! more traveling for me!) but when I get back I definitely plan on putting up some of my post-pilgrimage reflections, as well as a ton of quotes from the trip! So stay tuned everyone!
God bless,

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And We're On Our Way Back Home...

In less than an hour, we will be departing the St. Benedict Monastery in Arcadia to begin our trek home. The journey here was long indeed, but the time went by more quickly than we'd anticipated. As we look forward to our return home, many of us are still trying to figure out exactly what it was the Lord was saying to us through a haze of weariness mixed with joy, mixed with what has come to be called the WYD08 Plague (no worries - some of us just have a cold).

We will be seeing many of you soon, but for now, we leave on our Wednesday that may never end! (Because we are coming back across the international date line the other way this time, our Wednesday will be around 36 hours long - who said there were only 24 hours in a day!)

God bless, and G'day...and we'll see you soon!

PS - Continue to follow the blog as we add post-WYD thoughts, reflections and photos...and as always, thank you for your thoughts, prayers and comments - it was nice to have a touch of home so far away from home.

The Padre Posts!!

World Youth Day has been a wonderful experience of immersion in the Church’s life. I felt this in the explosion of joy and faith during the World Youth Day events. I was also inspired by the way our little community of young adults prayed together, served one another and enjoyed one another’s presence. Thank you, Genesis Ministries, for the privilege of being your spiritual “padre” on this blessed pilgrimage!

Fr. John Martin

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ain't no party like a Catholic Party!

So we're back at the monastery in Arcadia, the WYD festivities are over, and I have to say, the Vigil and the Papal Mass were an unforgettable experience.

The Vigil, first of all, started as just plain fun. The trek to Randwick Racecourse, sleeping bags on our backs and Rosaries in our hands, way appealed to the adventurer in me, and the exuberant anticipation among the crowd at the racetrack was contagious. The music played during the afternoon was awesome too (especially from Fr. Stan Fortuna, the rapping priest from the Bronx.....I'm definitely gonna suggest to Dan that we sing his rap-Litany at the Easter Vigil next year.....;-)

The Vigil itself was really powerful. I loved the candle-light service.....the seas of people, speckled with flames, was a really inspiring sight as we prayed to the Holy Spirit to inflame our hearts and transform our lives. It was also fun to play/dance with the candles afterwards, which provided a good source of warmth (even though we also got covered in wax!) Dancing and drinking hot chocolate also helped us keep warm, as the night was rather on the frigid side.

After I was done dancing and partying with the other rowdy Catholics (haha) Rakhi and I headed to the Adoration tent. That was definitely a highlight of the evening (and not just because the tent had heat lamps....) Before the Blessed Sacrament I was really able to sit and give everything to the Lord. It helped me to enter into the prayer of the vigil and to receive His peace deep down. I wanted to stay there forever, but I ended up only staying until about 1:30 in the morning. Then I headed back to camp where everyone else was sleeping/trying to sleep. Sleeping wasn't the easiest thing to do, between the bright lamps, the chanting off in the distance, and the freezing cold, and I really only drifted off a couple times, but I found the night a good time to reflect and pray and keep watch. Sunrise came at last and then it was time for the Papal Mass.

The Mass was beautiful (of course!) I want to go back and reread the Holy Father's homily, as well as several prayers during the liturgy, because I feel like everything said there completely confirmed everything I was thinking and praying about this WYD week. At the end of Mass, the prayer was for us to be transformed by this experience, and that really struck me because I keep praying that I'll go back home and never be the same....that I'll be able to hold onto this deeper sense of the Lord's presence and peace that He's given me this week. It won't be the easiest thing in the world, but I'll have the Holy Spirit, which makes everything possible.:)

After the Vigil, we waited around for some of the pilgrims to clear out before we headed out ourselves. I found that, despite the lack of sleep and generally energy-lag among the pilgrims, I was still on a to play frisbee and hackey-sack at the racecourse and sing most of the way back (on my sixteenth wind, as it were ;-) The trip back to Arcadia was also a lot of fun, including a happy reunion with Fr. Bernard and the "Atomic Doop" and an extremely slap-happy trip back to the monastery with made-up songs played on the broken guitar. Good times.:)

OK, well it's time for morning prayer now before we head out to the Blue Mountains, so I'd better hit the road. Thank you everyone who's been praying for me on this trip (especially my family--I love you and miss you utterly! ;-) It's really been amazing. God bless and peace out!

Picture Update!!

With the Vigil and Papal Mass, and the recovery thereafter, we haven't had a chance to be online in a while. Sorry for the three-day delay, but here are some pictures of our adventures during the official duration of World Youth Day 2008 (finally!). We are all off to the Blue Mountains today with Fr. Bernard from St. Benedict's, so hopefully we will get a chance to write a little more about our experiences in the coming evening. If not, rest assured that we will be writing more when we get home and are able to really reflect on all that has happened.

For now, enjoy the pictures!

God bless, and G'day!

P.S. - These are a little out of order, but enjoy them nonetheless!!

The view from the restaurant in the Rocks, Our view at the Papal Mass, & At the Papal Mass on Sunday morning

Snugly sleeping outdoors, Uncle Sam found some leprechauns!, & Enjoying the AOD Mass

At the opening Mass, Huddling over our candles for warmth!, & "Alleluia, Alleluia, receive the power..."

Meeting up with friends at the AOD Mass, Here we are at the Papal Arrival, Finally, a full group picture at lunch!

Fr. John from St. Patrick's (host parish), Anna roughing it at our host family's, The morning view from my window at host family

Our lady of the Southern Cross, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati