A number of features distinguish WYD 2016 from previous diocesan pilgrimages, but the main one is the intergenerational nature of this year’s journey. Of the 71 pilgrims heading to Italy, Poland and Austria in just over a month, one third are aged between 14 and 20, a third between 20 and 40 and the final third are 40 and above. There are 25 pilgrims from the school system, 16 school students and 15 older people. All pilgrims will no doubt benefit from this eclectic mixture of youth and experience!
I met Fr Richard Shortall sj at the Mayfield West parish church on a windy Thursday morning. Settling into a camper style chair, the very one he sits in when listening to people who seek his ear as our diocesan Missionary of Mercy (MOM), I asked him what had been the highlights of his very special ministry so far.
Sunday 22 May saw most of the 69 World Youth Day (WYD) pilgrims gather at the diocesan offices for a formation and information session. With just over 50 days until the pilgrims depart for Italy, Poland and Austria, the excitement is building!
The Sisters of St Joseph, through the Tenison Woods Education Centre, have been running Mums’ Night Out for many years. The night was originally envisioned to be a night off for busy mums who would gather at Lochinvar and have a meal prepared for them to enjoy while talking about the challenges and joys of motherhood.
My friend’s mother died late last year and at her funeral, her two sons and one of her grandchildren delivered a wonderful eulogy. The stories they told reflected the depth of their love for a very special lady, but there was one moment that touched me deeply. Her son was recalling a memory of her from almost 60 years before, when he was only a young child. As he described his mum’s dark hair and the way she walked into the room, his voice caught and he had to stop, such was the power of that memory and his love for her.
The Catholic, Anglican and Uniting Churches in the Hunter and Central Coast have joined together to promote the Give Us A Sign campaign for a second year. Give Us A Sign aims to highlight social justice issues, with last year’s campaign focusing on compassion for asylum seekers and this year’s seeking to promote peace.