Australia – Blessing the Shells: leaving for WYD
(ANS – Melbourne)– World Youth Day is approaching and the pilgrims furthest from Madrid are already preparing their bags. Yesterday, Sunday 24 July, during the Sunday Mass in St John’s Church in Clifton Hill, Melbourne Fr Frank Moloney, Provincial of Australia, blessed the scallop shells at the start of the Salesian pilgrimage from Australia to Spain.
More than 70 young pilgrims from Salesian schools, Don Bosco Camp and other works throughout Australia and Samoa will journey to Madrid in August to celebrate World Youth Day. They will join thousands of other young Catholics from all around the world including more than 6000 members of the world-wide Salesian Family.
The day began with a gathering of the young people. Together they selected and prepared their scallop shells, the traditional symbol of the pilgrim on the road to Santiago de Compostela. As he blessed them during the Mass Fr Moloney told the young people that they would be a physical reminder of a special journey of faith.
During the Mass concelebrated by Fr Bernie Graham, Youth Ministry Delegate, Fr John Papworth, and Fr Martin Tanti, Fr Moloney told the young people that World Youth Day would offer each of them the adventure of a life time and a rich spiritual experience. The central message of World Youth Day was an affirmation, despite the messages of a modern world, that “it was okay to love God, and it was okay to love each other.”
Friends and family witnessed the commissioning and joined in the prayers and blessing for a safe journey.
After having welcomed Benedict XVI to Sydney for WYD 2008, this year many young Australian will repay the visit in Madrid. At the beginning of August, the Salesian group will leave for Italy, the first stage of a journey which as well as being spiritual will also be historical and cultural. Before going to Spain they will visit Rome and then Turin, to get to know the city of the Pope and also the places associated with Don Bosco.