Thousand youth pilgrims

MORE than 1000 young people came from all parts of Australia with tents, sleeping bags and open hearts to celebrate the 30th Light to the Nations Easter Youth pilgrimage on the picturesque grounds of Bowral’s Chevalier College.

The record number of pilgrims were called to a lively encounter with the Holy Spirit through adoration, praise and worship, talks, personal sharing and drama in addition to celebrating the Easter Triduum liturgies.

Fr Ken Barker and the Missionaries of God’s Love religious community led the congregation in public worship.

The biennial event is organised by the Disciples of Jesus Covenant Community.

Saturday night’s Easter Vigil was the highlight with a number of people from Bowral and the surrounding Southern Highlands area joining in.

Wollongong Bishop Peter Ingham was warmly welcomed on Friday evening. He addressed pilgrims before the Tenebrae and reconciliation session where extra priests were called in to cope with the high demand for the sacrament of Confession.

The Rosary was a constant theme over the four days as those at the gathering channelled their prayer intentions for Pope Francis and for the needs of Australia.

Small reflection groups contemplated the Sorrows of Blessed Mother Mary during the day on Saturday.

Chiara Catanzariti described the energy, hope and joy of being a part of “something special”.

“Each day participants were immersed in the liturgies, living through the death and resurrection of our Saviour and His redeeming love,” she said.

“The congregation was full of joy, triumph and praise for the resurrection of the Lord.

“Communion was an extraordinary time where the Holy Spirit was immensely present, uniting all to the heart of the Father, experiencing the trinity in full.”

As they left, pilgrims were commissioned to go back into the world and to be “light to the Nations”.

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