Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jesus is in Our Midst

Friday, July 11th

It is 2:24 PM here in beautiful, sunny, but chilly Brisbane. We just finished up lunch which consisted of a hot dog on an abnormally large bun and some sort of sugary pastry. They eat a lot of bread here. We are about to start our afternoon workshops but I wanted to take a few minutes to catch up on here.

As you can see, I posted two notes below from some of our teens. As I write I can hear them walking by outside as K Kap is playing the backpacker guitar that Chris Bartlett lent him. It has a distinct sound. I was going to post some other pics yesterday but the internet went down again so I will try here in a bit. I also decided that the blog was becoming a distraction and was taking time away from being with the teens which is more important in my opinion. I will try to find a balance so as to keep ya'll informed.

I wish there was some way that you could see, hear, and touch what is going on here. The first couple of days were somewhat like a vacation but the trip has turned a corner. After lunch yesterday the festival began with some praise and worship and a few talks followed by dinner. The set-up is pretty nice. It is similar to Steubenville but on a bit smaller scale here.



By the time the night session rolled around, most of our teens were pretty tired. I think the Adrenaline finally wore off and we are all feeling the effects of jet lag. I know that you parents will not believe me, but all of the boys are up and showered and eating breakfast before 7AM. A few of us get up around 5 or 5:30 and have Morning Prayer and a rosary before or after breakfast. The ladies wake up a bit later. More than likely they wake up at the same time but it just takes longer to get ready. We all eat breakfast together which is nice.

After the first talk, the house band (Emmanuel Worship) began to play. They do a pretty good job but they are not the teens favorite. Some of the teens were so exhausted that they asked to be excused to go to bed. Those of us who remained were in for a treat. Before the next session began, we were able to go into the auditorium and a few of us met Matt Maher and shook his hand while he was doing a sound check. Here is a picture of K Kap, Claire, Katie Smith, and I meeting Matt Maher:



Matt Maher led us in an amazing praise and worship session! By the way, Anita, I have some ideas for music in Mass! Hah! We lost a few more people as the night went on but those of us who stayed had an amazing experience of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I am trying to find the right words to describe it but am not sure they do it justice. Some things you just have to experience.

This morning (Friday) we started off the day with a talk from Fr. Chris Ryan on God's Mercy and reconcilliation. We then moved into adoration with procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. It was a great experience for us all. Jesus was truly in our midst as we gathered together. We had Mass with an Auxiliary Bishop from Brisbane. Our homilist was Fr. Tom who is an older (and wiser) priest from New York. He was very lively and gave a powerful message.


It was a neat experience for me as I was sitting next to a gentleman from Rome who spoke to us the night before in Italian. He sits on the Pontifical Council for the Laity and is the head of a committee that represents all of the Charismatic movements in the church. To his left was the head of Youth Arise International who is also Italian but lives elsewhere I think. Also sitting near me is the head of NET Ministries for Australia and his two daughters. We ate lunch with them yesterday and they usually sit by us at the other events. It is neat to be kneeling down in adoration with people of such distinguished positions in the church. I admit I was a little star struck but more than anything moved that we all were praising God together.

I apologize if my thoughts are not flowing well but I just stopped to help Fr. Joseph Manchan from India attempt to check his email. This is just one of many experiences we have had with people from other countries. We have met people from Canada, Phillipines, Gibraltar, Italia, Malaysia, India, Ghana, the Congo, Australia, and many more. We have even met a few Aggies and one girl from Houston who is working with NET ministries in Australia. She told me that she told her Aussie friends that you will know the Texans when you see them because they will be draped in Texas flags. They did not believe her. We did not disappoint her:



At lunch today we presented one of our teens, Jordan Burdick, with a birthday card. He turns seventeen today. I actually sang to him when he woke up at 6:00AM in the room which should have been punishment enough. Alicia got the entire meal tent (quite the international crowd) to sing Happy Birthday to Jordan in English. A group from Malaysia then sang in their native language followed by a group from Gibraltar. It was really cool! Jordan seemed to really appreciate it.

Tonight we have another talk and praise and worship session but this time with a band from India called Rex Band. Tomorrow we will have Mass in the morning and then head to Paddington where we will be hosted by Paul and Ann Busch's (parishioners) son and daughter-in-law who live in Brisbane. We are looking forward to their hospitality.

Until next time, here are a few more pics. The teens are doing great and appreciate all of the prayers. The Holy Spirit is really working on them and it is great to be a witness to that!


Pax Tecum,

Tom

3 comments:

Anita Kapchinski said...

Kevin Kap - I know how much you were looking forward to Matt M's concert - what an unexpected and special treat to meet him, and it was very thoughtful of you to ask him to sign Chris Bartlett's backpacker guitar! Dad and I met the Powell's yesterday evening and all is well - I'm singing for your other roommate's aunt's wedding tomorrow, so I'll meet him then. We're singing a Psalm you wrote for Mass on Sunday - Ps. 69: "The seed that falls on good ground". You are missed and in our prayers constantly. Please keep an eye on Tom and make sure he paces himself!

fusguy said...

Hey Gang,

FYI ~ Plenary indulgence for World Youth Day

Pope Benedict XVI granted a Plenary Indulgence for those who "gather at Sydney, Australia, in the spirit of pilgrimage" to participate in celebrations for 23rd World Youth Day, and Partial Indulgence to "all those who, wherever they are, will pray for the spiritual goals of this meeting and for its happy outcome."

The indulgences may be gained in the following ways:

• The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful who will devotedly participate at some sacred function or pious exercise taking place during the 23rd World Youth Day, including its solemn conclusion, so that, having received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and being truly repentant, they receive Holy Communion and devoutly pray according to the intentions of His Holiness.
• The Partial Indulgence is granted to the faithful, wherever they are during the above-mentioned meeting, if, at least with a contrite spirit, they will raise their prayer to God the Holy Spirit, so that young people are drawn to charity and given the strength to proclaim the Gospel with their life.

"So, that all the faithful may more easily obtain these heavenly gifts, priests who have received legitimate approval to hear sacramental confessions, should welcome them with a ready and generous spirit and suggest public prayers to the faithful, for the success of the same World Youth Day,” Pope Benedict said.

Ralph and Paula Day said...

G'day mates-
I look forward each day to hearing about the spiritual growth you are encountering. Such a great opportunity to tune out the world and to tune in to the Lord. Paula and I pray for the entire group from St. Thomas and for all the youth @ WYD and the leaders that are present to help guide you. Challenge yourselves to grow in spirit and to trust the Lord in everything.

-Ralph & Paula Day