World Youth Day is getting closer....
As I write, the Pope is on the plane, scheduled to arrive in Darwin at 9.15am local time Sunday for a refueling stop. And The Australian has some very positive coverage of the event (with a fairly belated but useful defence of the Cardinal's handling of the Goodall case, complete with lots of potshots at their rivals over at Fairfax and the ABC), including a nice article on the return of tradition.
The Melbourne action
The paper-based (but alas not the online) version of the Weekend Oz includes a beautiful picture of Juventutem blogger Perpetua in Melbourne kneeling with some lovely looking nuns (there is more on her experiences, including a couple of nice pictures on the Juventutem blog).
You can also read about Melbourne's arctic winds on Et Clamor Meus Ad te Veniat (and yes, we are hoping for more from you Roman. Soon!).
On the Sydney front Terra ventured into Sydney, intent on spying out whether the secular and pseudo-Catholic media's phobias about traditional spirituality being on offer (fed by the aCatholicas and sandalistas of assorted varieties) were well-founded or not. Well, it's a mixed bad as one might expect.
The good news is that the place really is hotting up. Walking through a seedier part of Sydney relatively early in the morning, Terra was pleasantly surprised to realise that the group of what looked like young thugs lined up against a wall on the street corner opposite were actually pilgrims praying (the genuflections gave it away)!). A bevy of fully habited Dominican nuns charged down the street. And habits and veils were in evidence everywhere (albeit mostly supplemented by various hued robes to protect against the bitter cold).
The Cathedral has a very nice display, with the story of Blessed Mary McKillop featuring (and eliciting some shocked reactions from some foreign visitors, I guess at her excommunication), and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (whose relics are there, enclosed in a coffin). And some lovely chant through the speakers. And the other locations also seem nicely set up.
Numbers are still pretty thin (to the evident disappointment of the coffee shop operator where I partook of breakfast (ah Sydney. Who cares about annoyance laws or anti-catholic/religious prejudices when there is a buck to be made...). I reassured him that they are all currently in weird places like Adelaide and Canberra (I always feel its safer not to mention Melbourne when in Sydney), but would soon appear. In any case, those pilgrims that were in town were eagerly greeted by the many volunteers and locals hanging about with intent. Even Cardinal Pell was in evidence, conducting a baptism in a side chapel in the Cathedral.
That said, there did seem to be a few gaps in the service that will hopefully be plugged in the next few days. A steady stream of people were being handed cards to make an act of consecration to Our Lady of the Southern Cross, in front of the new painting in St Mary's Cathedral, and earn a plenary indulgence. Just how many pilgrims actually did gain the said indulgence however is questionable given that there were no confessors in sight (and even the normal confession times at the Cathedral had been cancelled!). Still, I guess there are several days yet...
In additional, the pews in the Cathedral have all been roped off, leaving nowhere for a weary pilgrim to sit and actually pray (there are a couple of spots to kneel, but given the relatively few spots compared to numbers queueing for them, one is not inclined to linger). I did subsequently discover however that there is Adoration in the Crypt.
On the truly negative side, wondering around Hyde Park one is assailed by the schmaltzy tones of a former Idol, crooning what I gather is an official song for the event. Oh dear!
And though I hesitate to stoop to the gutters (literally), I feel I do have to pass on one essential message to Sydney officials - clean your loos! You know, in places like the train station, coach terminal and places likely to be frequented by the hordes. Given the state they were in today and yesterday, I shudder to thing what the town will smell like by Friday...Enough said!
Anyway, for more pilgrim impressions, aside from those mentioned above, take a look at regular reader David's new blog. And please do let me know of any other traditionally oriented blogs recording events!
This week's programme
If you are in Sydney town this week, make sure you take the train to Lewisham to enjoy the ambiance of the beautiful Maternal Heart Chapel (Friday night's mass for the anniversary of the FSSP would be particularly worth a visit). And do try and make it to some of the Juventutem events this week (at Balmain unless otherwise specified), including:
- Tuesday July 15 Feast of St Henry 11.00am Solemn Mass (Fr Buchholz ICK), Balmain
- Wednesday July 16 Commem - Our Lady of Mt Carmel, 11.00am Solemn Pontifical Mass (Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett); 2.00pm Chant Workshop; 4.00pm Solemn Pontifical Vespers and Benediction (Cardinal Pell)
- Thursday July 17 Votive Mass of Holy Ghost 11.00am Solemn Pontifical Mass(Bishop Peter Elliott)
- Friday July 18 Votive Mass of Holy Cross 11.00am Solemn Ponifical Mass (Bishop Basil Meeking); Evening Solemn Mass, Fr DeMalleray (Superior General of FSSP, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the FSSP (Maternal Heart Chapel, Lewisham)
- Saturday July 19 Feast of St. Vincent de Paul 9.00am Solemn Mass (Fr McCaffrey FSSP).