22 December 2010
The Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres in Lane Cove and Moss Vale, NSW, Australia, were happy to be involved in the preparations for the World Youth Day 2008, which was held in Sydney, NSW, from 15th to 20th July, 2008. Preparation in the form of the Journey of the Cross and the Icon began a year in advance. The Sisters from Moss Vale and Lane Cove participated in this on various occasions:
The non-catholic students who are the majority of those in St. Paul’s International College were also very enthusiastic in joining the minority of the catholic students in the preparation with daily choir practice. They were all moved to tears when being allowed to carry the Cross and kiss the Icon. The seeds of faith were sown in their hearts and it would take time for them to grow.
Sr. M. Pauline Wong was a member of the Standing Committee set up with representatives from the 4 different Chinese Catholic Communities of Sydney for planning and organizing events in before and during the Week of the World Youth Day. She contributed a lot of her time and energy to the fund-raising activities – the charity sales, the fund-raising dinner and the Asian Food Fair. Unfortunately, only one Catholic youth leader from China sponsored with the funds raised was granted visa to come for WYD while all the others who had applied for sponsorship were unsuccessful in obtaining visa to come. There was the suggestion therefore to keep the rest of the funds to sponsor needy participants of the next WYD.
The Sisters were involved in the faith formation of the youths while arousing the interests of the Catholics to participate in WYD and to volunteer as helpers or as hosts to young pilgrims.
The Sisters took part in the weekly “Hours of Power” – Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Rosary Prayer and Bible Service. In April, Sr. Damian was invited to give a talk on Lectio Divina which was attended by about 55 members from the four Chinese Catholic Communities. Following that, the Religious Education co-ordinator of Our Lady of Doloras Catholic Parish in Chatswood also invited Sr. Damian to give the talk on Lectio Divina to the catechists there. Since then, Sr. Damian has become involved in the setting up of a local group for Lectio Divina.
The Catholic Asian Students’ Society which has many branches in the University of Sydney, University of NSW, University of MacQuarie and University of Technology of Sydney invited the pilgrims from Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau to join their annual retreat before World Youth Day.
Totally two hundred-thirty-five youths participated in this three-day retreat (11-13 July, 2008) held in St. Joseph Conference Centre, Bringelly, NSW. Sr. Damian was invited to give a talk on Reconciliation. Following her talk, eleven priests were placed in different corners of the lecture hall, the chapel and the corridors for the retreatants to have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sr. Inede was also invited to be there by Sr.Damian to enable more of the youths to have the chance of speaking to a religious.
Participating in the WYD has definitely ignited the fire of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We have been made to be more enthusiastic in evangelization, which of course starts with self, through deepening of our faith, prayer life and greater appreciation of the liturgy.
Among some of the encouraging effects of the WYD are: our continuation of the promotion of religious and priestly vocations through weekly Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in our convents and in the Chinese Catholic Communities we are helping, and our greater efforts to commit ourselves to faith building even among the local Australian parishes as well as supporting and accompanying those who make enquiries and are seeking God’s will for them after their visit to our religious vocation exhibition on WYD.
In all our human endeavors, we bear in mind that it is through the Holy Spirit and by His power that we can become effective in evangelization.