WYD – Day Nineteen

Wed 23rd July

Well, here we are, Flight 1, home safe and sound, thank God, with a good night’s sleep behind us! The final stage of the pilgrimage was this major journey everyone was exhausted after the hectic activity of the past couple of weeks, together with the emotional rollercoaster that we all seemed to be caught up in at times………I have just been in touch with Judy from Ryde, and they are all well there, but missing the K & L crowd. There are lovely messages here on the blog from some of our hosts, and according to Judy the feedback on our group from host� families and other parishioners is very positive.

The community in Boorowa are lonely for you as well�indeed some of them made the journey to Randwick to share a little extra time with their pilgrim friends. Well done to all of the pilgrims, you have been wonderful ambassadors to World Youth Day, on behalf of yourselves, your families, your parishes, your Diocese and your country!

We will spare a thought for Paul and the gang on flight two as they are still at the half way stage on the return journey, and pray that they will have as good a trip as we did.

Sometimes people can be negative about the role of young people in our Church, or about the lack of participation. Sometimes I have heard people refer to young people as the future of our Church. World Youth Day shows very clearly that the young Church is alive and well, and very much here in the present!

Over the past couple of weeks, I am delighted to have been part of the World Youth Day experience�the life and energy of all of you, and of the bigger picture of the worldwide Church has been good for me!!!! World Youth Day isn�t just for young people at all…….

I have seen your commitment to your faith, your care for each other, the respect that you showed for us as leaders, and the great fun we have had. I have watched new friendships being formed, and I have made new friends myself. I have really appreciated the support that each of you have given to me personally, and the way in which you participated in all the activities, with such good humour, even when you were exhausted!!!!

We have really been alive, awake, alert and enthusiastic…….. May it continue for all of you!

To flight three, I can never tell you all how much we all missed you, and we are thrilled that you have your pilgrimage to look forward to next month. My admiration for the way that you dealt with the awful situation that you found yourselves in is indescribable.

I am looking forward to seeing all of our K & L pilgrims again; we will be in touch very soon

Thanks be to God for a wonderful experience!!!!

WYD – Day Sixteen

Sun 20th July

We have just arrived home from the Vigil and Mass with Pope Benedict.� All went very well.� You were all remembered by us during the Mass.

We are a tired bunch of pilgrims at this stage as our focus turns to home. The packing has begun!

Thanks to all who have contributed to the blog, your comments and prayers are very much appreciated by all of us here. To �Group Three�, I look forward to meeting you all soon on our return.

Again thanks for your support

Please God we will travel safely over these days..

Fr Paul Dempsey


There are a number of ways to�look back at�the World Youth Day events on line.��There is an excellent media player within the official website for WYD 2008 – www.wyd2008.org Click here to see video archive�of all of the major events.

WYD – Day Fifteen

Sat 19th July

Hi all,

Today, Saturday, we head off on our pilgrimage walk to Randwick Racecourse. This evening the pope arrives for a prayer vigil, then he heads off and we remain under the stars for the night! The weather has been very good in Sydney, but it gets very cold at night, so think of us out in the cold when you�re tucked up in bed!

On Sunday morning the pope returns for the Mass at 10am.� Following the Mass we await the announcement for where the next WYD event will be held. Our focus then is on the return journey.

Thanks to all who have contributed their comments on the blog. To Frances, Katie, Jodie, Mairead, Mary, Lorraine, Sophie at home, it is so heartening to hear your comments. Fr. Liam told me that you were an extraordinary group in the way you have all handled a very difficult situation over these days and weeks.

I look forward to meeting you all when I get back. You have been very much apart of our exoperience out here, constantly in our thoughts and prayers.

Will remember you all in a special way during the Mass on Sunday.

God bless,

See you soon,
Fr. Paul

WYD – Day Fourteen

Friday – 18th July

Here we are at day number….not actually sure, but I know it is Friday…………..

Yesterday was a very big day for all of us, as Pope Benedict arrived in Sydney Harbour by boat.

After our catechesis session in the morning, we travelled together to Barangaroo — quite an adventure in itself. Once we get into the city centre, we join each time with streams of people coming from every direction, all singing and waving their flags.

Some of the group are becoming real entrepreneurs — the Irish Flag is much sought after by other nationalities, and all sorts of deals are being made for food, tshirts, flags, badges, jewellry and other bits and pieces.

Once we arrived at Barangaroo yesterday, we had a long wait to be placed in our corral — once again I am amazed at the good nature and patience of this group — not a moan to be heard. They just kept singing!

Our wait was worthwhile though, as our site is very close to the altar. We had a fantastic view as Pope Benedict led us in prayer.

Today we will be in the same area, on the right as you look at the altar, so if anyone is watching you might spot us!� We are easily identified by Conor McCaffrey’s Irish and Australian flags sewn together, and two flagpoles, courtesy of Gus in Boorowa, which hold two Irish flags each. (See update below)

Before that thought, we will have a very special catechesis with our own Bishop Jim. All the group are looking forward to that — he has spent a lot of time with them over the last few days, and they are delighted to be able to get to know him.

Please God things will continue to go well for the gang here! Keep us in your prayers, as we will keep all of you in ours!� Photos will be worth the wait………..

All the best to everyone

WYD – Day Twelve

Wed 16th July

Greetings from sunny Sydney…

First of the long walks happened yesterday… from our parish in Ryde to Barangaroo on the Sydney waterfront.� The Kildare & Leighlin group got the flavour of the WYD atmosphere as the crowds converged on the venue for the opening Mass.

As we made our way along we joined with young people from every nation and made sure that we flew the Irish flag and shared many Irish songs.

The sense of excitement is starting to build as pilgrims continue to arrive in the city.

Today we had our first catechesis session with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor of Westminister Diocese in London.� He shared his own faith story with us and really impressed the pilgrims with his relaxed style and sense of humour.

Cardinal Brady of Armagh and our own Bishop Jim joined in the celebration.� The Kildare & Leighlin group organised the music and song for our Mass together and there was great delight from the other Irish dioceses as Mary Deay led the choir at communion in a beautiful rendition of “Our Lady of Knock”.

Tomorrow we head off to welcome Pope Benedict to the shores of Sydney harbour…

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at home as we continue this journey of faith together…

God Bless,
Fr Paul and Trish

WYD – Day Ten

Mon 14 July

Sunny Sydney at last!!!!!!

A good day today, with free time for the pilgrims and for their families to get to know each other!  We arrived yesterday, and registered officially, and now we all have beautiful necklaces with our pilgrim passes and our food vouchers in them. Very important items as we begin the real pilgrimage part of this journey.

Last night, Bishop Jim celebrated Mass for us here in St Charles, together with our own priests and those from Armagh who have joined us here. Today we expect Clogher, a Mexican group, and some Canadians to arrive as well.

Today the gang spent the day exploring and shopping, while Paul and I sussed out the routes and venues for the next few days…….

After a false start, we finally ended up heading in the right direction and found Barangaroo, which had been right there the whole time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow we will travel as a group for the opening Mass there. It is on the waterfront, near Circular Quay, so we managed to get a glimpse of the Opera House and the Bridge…….Wow!!!!!

Most of the group did the tourist thing today, and a couple of them saw the WYD Cross coming into the harbour.

The atmosphere is building, with groups from all over the world arriving.  The music and dancing on the streets has begun, and the flags are out.  Our lot haven’t been together in the city as a group yet, but just wait till tomorrow………..

Love to all at home

WYD – Day Eight

Sat 12th July – Boorowa departure

Our St Brigid’s Crosses have arrived thank God — too late for the presentation, which was a bit embarrassing for us, but they came in last night and we will be unveiling and blessing the Boorowa cross this morning before we leave.

It’s great to be leaving it in a church that already has a beautiful stained glass window of St Brigid, and with people who are almost as Irish as we are!

Today we really venture into the unknown — we are leaving at 10.30 for Canberra, with no idea of where we will be sleeping tonight, or indeed if we will! All we know is that our luggage will be stored overnight, and with the weather here, we will be holding on tight to the sleeping bags, and unpacking the thermal blanket that was part of our survival kit! A sign of things to come…………..

The Sydney Morning Herald has a feature issue on WYD in general, but the Boorowa News here has produced a feature issue on our group. We will bring them home naturally, but I think maybe you could check them online.�

I can honestly say that emotionally we have experienced everything from utter desolation to the ultimate joy here in Boorowa, and the people here have been with us every step of the way!

Love to all back home

Sat – July 12th Boorowa

Awww man… it is COLD!!!

I didn’t really believe that it was snowing… now I think it’s too cold to snow!!!

We’re leaving Boorowa today… everyone wants to stay!! The people here are amazing!! It’s a cool little farming village in the middle of nowhere… like seriously… no-one’s phones work! We’re totally cut off from the outside world!!! How wierd for all our Irish text addicts to actually have to talk to real people!!!

And we have sheep living in our KITCHEN!!! Very different from our lifestyle back in the urban wonderland that is Clane!!! ha ha… it’s been great though… The people are so welcoming and lovely!

Hi to everyone back home… We really really wish you were all here… We’re gonna take so many pictures and videos that you will think that you were!!!

Ashleigh & Claire

WYD – Day Seven

Fri 11th July – Boorowa

Here we are at the end of our stay in Boorowa-Binalong-Galong. It’s difficult to believe that we have come to the end, and difficult to believe that we came here as strangers!

At this stage, we are greeted by name as we walk down the street, and we are not just friends, but family.
Tonight we had our final Mass together, as a group, and even managed to get Fr Brian and his gang back into town — apparently they were having too much fun on the farm to join us before……

Huge thanks are due to the whole community  here — we thought Irish Hospitality was something special, but the people here have shown us how it should be done!

This morning we visited the local Hospital and Boorowa House nursing home, and sang for the residents and patients there. Some very special moments for all of us, and I think we pilgrims got more out of the experience than those we visited.

We met Jim, who loved our rendition of Danny Boy, Norawho at 101 years old is more glamorous than we are right now, and Kathleen whose roots are in Kildare Town, as well as many others.

This afternoon, some of the group had an Aboriginal Cultural experience, others went shopping, and others spent time with their families We also met our Samoan friends under the leadership of Sr Paula, who will journey to Canberra with us tomorrow.

Farewell till we meet again Boorowa, and as Arnold Schwarzenegger said — we will be back………….

The Epistle of the Trek of the Shamrock People to the Land of Oz

And the time came to pass that the children of the Shamrock People grew restless and beat their shields–and sayeth to their leaders — Verily we tell you, we are bored!

And the elders of the Shamrock met in Council, and they hatched a plan despicable to rid the land of rebels, and send them to a faraway place, lost in the midst of time and distance; a land called Down Under — the land of Oz — a land where they eat exotic food called a vegemite sandwich.

And the elders of the Shamrock sayeth — Is it not true that we sent many trouble makers to that land of Oz in years long gone, and they did not return?

So they plotted to send their worst rascals on a pilgrimage to convert the children of the Vegemite Sandwich to the ways of the Leprechaun.

And the Children of the Vegemite beat their chest and they cried back — IN YOUR DREAMS!!!!

So the Shamrock people cast about and found a place so strange they boast of running sheep in a thing called Woolfest; and they have a Shamrock Trail in their village to find their way home.

That place was called Boorowa; the seat of the High Priest called Beath of the large family.

The children of that place fell back in awe and sayeth — Verily has any other man so many aunts, uncles and cousins????

And the High Priest cried out — We challenge you to come; we will place you in fear and awe of our land of wonders and legends!

And the Shamrock children called back — IN YOUR DREAMS!!!

So in the fullness of time, the Shamrock rascals came and were taken to places prepared by a war council of the High Priest.

The Shamrock Leader was one of great power named Dempsey of the Smile.

But the one of Stealth and Cunning was named Trish of the Clan of the O’Neill!!!

And she sayeth — Surely now I will disburse our warriors through their land and convert them to our ways!

But the natives of the tribes of Boorowa-Binalong-Galong saw that the plot was devious and whispered — IN YOUR DREAMS!!!!

When the tribes of Vegemite and the Shamrock came together, there was much wonder that they spake the same language and sought the same customs…………

And at a place called the Courthouse, did they not pledge eternal friendship?

A nd did not at a place called the Ex-Services Club the leader of the tribes of Boorowa-Binalon-Galong, named Wendy, and the Leaders of those tribes also, confirm that covenant of Friendship?

In the blinking of an eye, the Shamrock people found that they had to leave that place, and great sadness enveloped all…….

And the people of Beath the High Priest also felt much anguish at friendships, so recently forged in battles of song, were to be severed.

And each pledged to the other – We will remember you — IN OUR DREAMS!!!!!!

(Thanks to Gus Staunton–Chairman of the Planning group�in Boorowa-Binalong-Galong)

Many Many thanks to the good people of this town and the surrounding areas for your warmth and hospitality!

We look forward to continuing those friendships…………


Fri 11th July – Carlow

Everyone is still working through the disappointment of the return of 36 pilgrims; both in Ireland and out in Australia, including the host families in Boorowa.�

The plight of the 36 returned pilgrims has received a lot of media coverage.  The diocese issued a press release and assisted the media in various ways. Unfortunately, even with this exposure, no solution to the basic problem of seat availability has emerged.�

We thank everyone for their kind words of sympathy and support.

We have written to all the group and we hope to gather everyone at the end of the month when Fr Paul and the others are back.  It would be an opportunity to greet each other and look to new possibilities.�

Fr Paul has been in close contact with us and has added his own comment to this blog.  The sentiment now is that those who made it to WYD should certainly make the most of it.  We look forward to hearing the ‘good news’ from down under.�

Bishop Moriarty is now en route to Sydney.  He was not travelling with any of the three groups as he needed to attend the bicentenary celebration of the Patrician Brothers in Tullow on Wednesday.  Thankfully, it appears that he avoided any serious delay out of Dublin which has been badly hit by the radar failure.

Fr Bill
(Bishop’s House)

WYD – Day Five

Wed 9th July

Unfortunately, our pilgrimage has been hit by bad news. The group on the third flight who missed their original connection in London on Monday night – due to thunderstorm which delayed flights into Heathrow – could not be given a secure alternative travel plan and have reluctantly returned home.

Bishop Moriarty and a number of clergy gathered in Askea, two days after seeing the group off, to greet the group on their return along with family members.

Bishop Moriarty stated –

“The whole experience has been an ordeal for all concerned and we sympathise with the 36 pilgrims and their families for this very unfortunate turn of events. It is a real blow and everyone needs a bit of time to come to terms with what has happened.

We acknowledge the very difficult position the leaders of the group were placed – Fr Liam, Fr Paddy and Robert. We support them in the difficult decision they made – which had to put the basic safety and unity of the group above all else. We are of course relieved that everyone is back safe and sound.”

WYD – Day Three

Mon 7th July

After an eight year drought, the weather finally broke here in Boorowa, just as the first group of pilgrims arrived from Ireland! There was much rejoicing in the community here as the torrential rain fell, but the bedraggled K & L gang weren’t too impressed………..

Still, it is a pilgrimage………….

We have no network coverage here in Boorowa, and the tiredness seems to be affecting our ability to use the phone cards, so please reassure everyone that flights one and two have arrived safely and are now ensconced with their host families.

The friendliness of the people here, in this very Irish community is unbelievable. Flight one met for Mass with Fr Greg and our own John Cummins at 9.15 this morning. We had Adoration and prayed the Rosary together, and the rest of the day has been spent meeting the locals.

The Boorowa courthouse was the venue for morning coffee, and we were royally entertained there. Afterwards, we spoke with Ria from the local paper, who plan to do a feature issue on our visit this week! Then we covered the town from end to end, chatting to people and introducing some ofthe local young people to Hurling….quite an experience!

Flight two headed off to cope with their jet lag, and get to know their hosts……

Unortunately flight three are not having as easy a journey as the rest of us…….. At the moment they are apparently stuck in London, where they have been allocated accomodation for the night, and will hopefully join us a little later thatn planned……… No doubt Fr Liam will look after them well……….

Will let you know how they get on when we hear from them…………..

(K&L WYD co-ordinator)

Day One

Sat 5th July

Well here we are, the day has arrived at last. All the fundraising, praying, meetings, saving and packing are over and we are on our way!!!!!

We have been in touch with our host families in Boorowa, and in Sydney and they are lovely. They are sooooo looking forward to meeting us, and now we are not so nervous about meeting them.

I’m sleepy… and someone said it was SNOWING in Canberra… WHAT???!!! Does that mean I won’t get a suntan on my legs???!!! NOOOOOOO!! Oh well I suppose this is the first of many hardships I will be forced to endure on this Pilgrimage… Here’s hoping it’s sunny when the Papa gets there!!!

Hang on.. it’s snowing?!! No way.. oooh.. this is going to be soooo much fun!! Not looking forward to the like a million hour flight, but sure it’ll be worth it!! I just hope no one on the plane gets plane sick!!

Now we’re off to the Boy’s school in Clane to meet the rest of the First Flight—real pioneers in this journey—we are going to have Mass together, and set off immediately after that.

Wish us luck and keep us in your prayers till we land in Sydney early Monday morning—thank you again to all the people who have helped us to get ready for this experience, and World Youth Day, here we come…………

Ashleigh and Claire
(Clane Parish)