These thoughts I write before leaving for the WYD Pilgrimage on August 4th. 

Our eight young people from the Diocese and myself, are joining the Salvatorian Father€™s group from Perth, Bunbury, Broken Bay, Sydney Diocese. The Geraldton group are Francis Jadzinski, Priscilla Jadzinski, Nathan Danker (South Hedland); Simon Wilkinson (Karratha);  Stella De Gouveia Ryan Atherton (Carnarvon); Jason Morrissey (Tardun)  and Hoanh Hoang (Geraldton).  One thing that has really impressed me about this pilgrimage is the fact that we have all received materials to prepare. The most important materials were the prayer and reflections over a period of ten days.


It was made clear that this was much more than a trip, tour or a holiday. It is all that, but very much a spiritual journey '€“ a Pilgrimage. Hence the prayer material we received.

The theme of the WYD pilgrimage is '€œWe have come to adore the Lord'€. They are the words of the three wise men in search of the Infant Jesus. Tradition has it that the relics of these men are in the Cologne cathedral. Fact or symbol; it doesn'€™t matter. We are all on a pilgrimage to Cologne from countries all over the world. We all have the one purpose, namely, to find Jesus and worship him.

The first three reflections were on the WYD logo. The cross is a powerful symbol of Jesus who loved us to the limit, and whom we want to come to know and love more. The cross is part and parcel of his life and it is likewise of ours. He is always with us though in any and every difficult time.

The star led the wise men to Jesus in Bethlehem. It is the symbol of the guidance of God. In many ways in life, God guides us and points us in the direction of Jesus. We need to be alert to those guiding signs.

The two spires represent the graceful spires of the Cologne cathedral. Our meditation here focused on the church. The people of God are the living Church. The building is only important insofar as it houses the Lord and his People. We were called to reflect on what the Church means to us and how we belong to it.

The other meditations were the Emmaus Story (Lk Ch 24). Jesus walked and talked with the two disciples, and yet they failed to recognise him. They were sad, downcast and heavy with worry. How true it is that Jesus is our constant Companion on our journey of life and we fail to recognise him.

This meditation opened us up to look for the many ways Jesus is with us. Apart from his abiding presence within us through the Holy Spirit, Jesus comes to us in the people around us. Those who work with us, talk to us, help us or who are helped by us are all Christ. He comes to us in them. I am sure that now we will be more aware of Jesus and in all those forty eight with whom we travel on this pilgrimage.

These prayer times were a help to me to remember that I am never alone. Each day in whatever I do, whether it be office work, meeting people, visitation of the parishes, meetings etc, I have a silent companion. We all do. Jesus is always within us. He keeps surprising us by also coming to us in the many good people he puts around us.

Another beautiful truth from this gospel was brought home to me through these meditations. The two disciples invited Jesus in and he immediately accepted. We were reminded that this is all we have to do '€“ invite Jesus into our lives. He always says '€œYes, certainly!'€ People around us quite often say that they haven'€™t got time for us. They have many things to do. This is never the case with Jesus.

When Jesus blessed and broke the bread and gave it to them, they recognised him. We recognise Jesus and believe that he is with us in the '€œBreaking of the Bread'€, the Eucharist. Along our pilgrimage we will be celebrating the Eucharist in special places '€“ St Peter'€™s in Rome,  Assisi, Padua, Prague, Czestochowa and of course Cologne with our Pope Benedict.

The eight young pilgrims from our diocese are a constant reminder of you, my whole diocesan family. You were prayed for in all these special places and each day of our pilgrimage. One of my prayers is that we will all come to find Jesus more and share him more with others.