Saturday, July 5, 2008

"We Finally Made It!!!"

Here is a post from one of our teens on her thoughts going into this pilgrimage:

"When my older brother returned home from WYD 2005 in Cologne, Germany, I could vividly see the fire of his faith burning inside of him and the complete determination he had to live his life for Christ. After hearing about all of his incredible adventures and amazing faith experiences during his pilgrimage, my heart was set on WYD 2008!

About a year ago, I was informed that our parish would be leading a group of teens to WYD 2008 in Sydney, Australia. Since that initial moment when I made a committment to WYD 2008, this past year has encompassed several challenges and obstacles for me individually and our group as a whole, but praise God, because despite Satan's attempts, we made it!

Additionally, a year ago, I was probably more focused on traveling to Australia than the actual spiritual growth in my faith. However, through many hours of prayer, receiving the Blessed Sacraments and of course helpful guidance from our fearless leaders, Tom, Alicia, and Father Michael, I am now fully prepared to dive head first into this journey in my faith and surrender myself comlpletely to God's Will for me during this pilgrimage!

I am SO excited to truly witness the universality of the Catholic Church and interacting with Catholic teens from all over the world. I am interested to talk with other teens from around the world, especially those from Asia and the Middle East, to learn what it is like to live out your faith in those areas. Considering yesterday was Independence Day, I was reminded of how blessed we are in the U.S.A. to have the freedom to celebrate Mass and receive the Sacraments without obstruction, yet I realize that not all Catholic teens have those same opportunities.

I am happy to say that I am almost completely packed and I am excited about the send-off Mass tonight and our potluck dinner with our families to follow! Please continue to pray for safety in our travels and for our group as a whole, that we may offer up our own needs and desires and open our eyes, minds, and hearts fully for what God has to show us during this pilgrimage. Less than 24 hours to go!!!"

With Peace and Love in Him,
Katie Smith

From Tom - "Just a quick editor's note. In case anyone is reading this blog, I wanted to let you know that you can leave us comments to share your thoughts, prayers, well wishes, etc. Just click on the Comments under each post. Also, the send-off Mass is today, Saturday at 5:30PM. Feel free to join us!

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