Pilgrims farewelled from Sacred Heart Cathedral

Pilgrims from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle were blessed and bid farewell by Bishop Bill Wright at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Saturday before they began the first leg of their journey to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day 2013.

Pilgrims farewelled from Sacred Heart Cathedral

Wearing distinctive royal blue T-shirts – and some travelling lighter than others – they listened intently to Bishop Bill's story of St Ignatius setting off on pilgrimage into the unknown. He took off all his expensive clothing and gave it to a beggar, so that he began his journey in Christ's footsteps as a poor man.

"You journey looking for an experience of God's grace – and you will find it. One good person can be a tremendous source of grace, but to be somewhere with thousands of people of like mind: grace will be tangible. And you are going to South America! I hope you will be able to be of service and I hope you will receive.

"And I'm the bishop of this place. What I want to know is what you will do when you come back!"

At the end of the Mass of Blessing, pilgrims were presented with a palm cross and a bible to carry with them.

There were photos, even the odd 'selfie', last farewells and the bus headed down the freeway bearing not only the hopes of the pilgrims, but those of families, friends and a bishop.

And by the way, the beggar wearing the finery was arrested, and Ignatius had to be found to testify that the man was poor but not a thief!


Tracey Edstein

Editor, Aurora


To view a gallery of photos from the Mass of Farewell please click here.


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