More than 150 people gathered at Northbridge Piazza for the local World Youth Day (WYD) event on 31 July.
The wet weather didn’t deter the crowd from enjoying an afternoon of festivities, including music from the Ignite band, performances from Kukuleczka Polish dance group, Polish donuts and screening of WYD events from Poland on the Piazza big screen.
Ignite band opened the event with a few songs and the crowd were soon on their feet dancing.
The WYD screening commenced with a special welcome message from CYM staff, Anita Parker and Vincent Haber, and the pilgrims from Perth.
The screening began with the Australian Gathering. The Australian Gathering was an opportunity for more than 3000 Australians attending WYD to gather together to celebrate their faith. The pilgrims enjoyed a morning of drama, music, teaching and prayer.
Other events screened included the arrival of Pope Francis in Krakow, the opening mass and the prayer Vigil on the eve of WYD. Over 1.6 million gathered for the WYD vigil. The crowd at Northbridge Piazza were only a screen away from witnessing this momentous gathering of young Catholics from all over the world. The screening included footage of a powerful testimony by Rand Mittri who spoke about her life in Syria. Also screened were excerpts from Pope Francis’ message encouraging young people to leave a mark in the world and not be ‘couch potatoes’! The crowd at the piazza were particularly moved by footage of the sea of people in prayer during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
CYM staff member, Eliza McKay said, ‘It was a moving experience to feel connected with the Pope and the pilgrims even though they were across the world. We were able to experience the vibrancy of the Catholic Church and learn more about Polish culture. I particularly enjoyed Rand’s testimony.’
Kukuleczka Polish dance group enthusiastically shared their culture and delighted the crowd with a vibrant and colourful performance. The group performed five dances which included their junior, intermediate and senior group to loud cheers and claps. The vibrant atmosphere even caught the attention of onlookers who stopped to watch and join in on the festivities.
Participant, Philemon Kho said, ‘The event was packed with Polish influences – from Polish dancers to Polish donuts and a huge screening of WYD all the way from Poland. The music was great as well as the company. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Ignite band wrapped up the afternoon with a few uplifting songs before everyone headed to St Mary’s Cathedral for a special mass. The choir sang the WYD theme song, ‘Blessed are the Merciful’ and Monsignor Michael Keating shared his experiences of WYD. At the conclusion of mass, Panama was announced as the location of the next WYD in 2019.
Most of the pilgrims travelling with the CYM group returned home on 6 August. As we welcome the returning pilgrims’ home and exchange stories, we pray that the faith of all young Catholics, whether they attended WYD or stayed in Perth, is reinvigorated to live the Gospel message of mercy every day.