Our memories of World Youth Day have been both exciting and challenging because it has been an experience in our lives that we have never had before.
We billeted four of the East Timorese contingent, which AD2000 sponsored for World Youth Day. We attended various events in Melbourne's Days in the Diocese including shopping with the East Timorese for warm clothes, visiting the Carmelite Monastery and attending the Commissioning Mass at the Telstra Dome.
Then the East Timorese and their Thomas More Centre pilgrim hosts joined the bus convoy to Sydney where our group participated in the main events. These included a most wonderful day at the Salesian's Don Bosco School at Engadine, where our East Timorese pilgrims were able to meet up with other East Timorese who were also sponsored by Australians. Several nationalities billeted there put on a little show for the rest of the audience, who appreciated the beautiful diversity in culture of so many different peoples.
When you witness such energy and love you start to realise that God really excelled himself when he decided to create the human race. We certainly received a very warm welcome and our East Timorese pilgrims were most appreciative and enjoyed meeting other pilgrims from other countries. Language was no barrier and, as often happens, love did really conquer all.
The 'icing on the cake' for one of the East Timorese girls was when she was given the honour of assisting in carrying the cross during Stations of the Cross. Overall we felt that all the East Timorese pilgrims were very happy with our hospitality and the new friendships they made with our Australian Thomas More pilgrims.
We would like to thank all the AD2000 readers for their prayers and contributions in sponsoring these wonderful young East Timorese pilgrims.
Emidio and Phyllis Restall are staff members at the Thomas More Centre.