Corroboree at Customs House
An increasing respect for the indigenous people of Australia has been noticeable during WYD.
This hasn’t always been the case, and it took the newly elected Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, to finally apologise for the treatment of the indigenous people in the past earlier this year.
This was a significant enough moment to receive global media coverage, so we were able to talk about with groups from England and Wales in preparation sessions before we came.
Kevin, Joseph and Stephen
Panic over, we did indeed find four people to share our dinner with, but more about them later…
The opening Mass at Barangaroo, an old dock area which has been rejevenated for WYD, was quite a special experience.
For all those WYD first-timers, it gave a taste of what was to come when 150,000 young people descended from all parts of Sydney and gathered to celebrate the official opening of WYD.
Sydney has an air of expectancy about it.
Walking around Darling Harbour we had to dodge power cables being put in place to bring power to the huge outdoor screen being installed almost in the middle of the quay, ready to show live images during the week.
Suddenly we heard the opening bars of “Receive the Power”, the WYD08 Theme, drifting through the air as the final sound checks were taking place over at Barangaroo which will host the Opening Mass on Tuesday afternoon when everything finally starts.
Onward to Sydney and we arrived just before 6am, having left England two days previously.
We managed to find our hotel but couldn’t check in for a few hours so left our baggage and went for a stroll.
We got to the end of our road and lo and behold! There was the Sydney harbour bridge and opera house! We were really in Sydney!
Knowing that London was one of the main transport hubs for pilgrims flying from North and South America – as well as Europe – to Australia for World Youth Day (WYD), I expected to spot some groups before we landed in Sydney.
What I didn’t expect was to bump into 32 pilgrims from Jamaica on the Piccadilly Line at Green Park, just four tube stops after we left the office on the way to Heathrow!