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World Youth Day
World Youth Day 08



Well, Claire, welcome home from your Sydney Trip. Did you have a great time?
Yes I had an amazing three weeks in Sydney. I had the opportunity to meet so many different people from various cultures and backgrounds who were all there for the same reason - to celebrate World Youth Day 08.

Was it everything you imagined it would be?

To be honest I didn’t know what to expect or what to compare it with. This in a way was beneficial as I was fully open minded to this new experience.

The seating plan of the double- decker plane going from Heathrow to Singapore. I was sitting in the very last row of the main deck.

I spent my first week with 6 other Irish, 5 Singaporeans and 7 Germans. Along with a group of Filipinos’ who were our coordinators for the week. Above is a picture of the Singaporeans




Here we have the Germans.

Were there many representatives from Dromore Diocese?
19 youth represented Dromore Diocese along with Anita Ryan and Sr. Concepta.

How did you first become involved with World Youth Day?
I had seen it advertised in the Parish Bulletin but never thought about it again until Catherine and a few others mentioned it to me. I went along to the information day and took it from there.

Claire, Eimear, Sarah, SInéad, Anita and Cathy, outside the chapel in Chatswood parish. These 6 along with Laura (who is taking the picture) made up the 7 Irish who were grouped together for the week.

The FCCP made a quilt in preparation for our arrival

Were you always involved in the parish?
Yes I was an alter server for many years and now am a Minister of the Eucharist

Was there anything in particular that drew you to Parish involvement?
Family, school, friends and community are all strong elements which contributed to my interest in the parish.

How did you become a Minister of the Eucharist?

Catherine approached me and asked me.

Do you enjoy this ministry?
Yes I do

The Filipinos, Germans, Irish and Singaporeans outside the Aboriginal Church were we spent some time learning about the Aboriginal Culture.

Nenita, Marte and Anita getting blown away

Do you have any abiding memories of the country itself?
Plenty!! I absolutely loved it. The atmosphere and friendliness of the people made us feel right at home.

How long did it take to get there?
I had three flights in total. Dublin to Heathrow (50 mins), Heathrow to Singapore (12hrs) and finally Singapore to Sydney (7hrs).

Some aboriginals working on a piece of Aboriginal art.

Veronica (German), Claire and Kathleen (Singaporean) on the Harbour Bridge during the “Amazing Race” similar to a treasure hunt.


Where did you stay?
Our accommodation consisted of a classroom floor and a sleeping bag in Sydney’s best schools. The first week we were under the care of an amazing group of Filipinos who now live in Australia and the rest of our stay saw us share our facilities with another 1200 pilgrims at the Jesuit College.

Standing on the steps of the Opera House, during the “Amazing Race” along with our coordinator, Jeremy.

Samuel, (bottom left) is a refugee in Australia and kindly shared his story with us

The beds for the homeless laid out on the steps of the chapel.

How did you manage meals etc. ?
We were very lucky with our meals. Whilst staying with the Filipinos, we had our meals donated by a different family each day and the food was delicious. The rest of our stay we had passes which got us our food but we never went hungry…always plenty of cafés about.


As a thank you for the FCCP, we made a poster using photographs taken throughout the week and presented it to them on the last night.

What memories of the event itself will stay with you?
There are so many it’s hard to pick out specific memories. However spending time with the homeless and refugees really had an effect on me in the sense it made me stop and think about people and our judgements towards them. We also had the opportunity of carrying out an “amazing race” around Sydney (large scale treasure hunt) which was great fun. Not forgetting World Youth day itself, seeing the Pope, the reinacting of the stations of the cross was amazing.

FCCP, Germans, Irish and Singaporeans saying their goodbyes after having an amazing week together.


Some Aboriginals welcoming us to the opening mass

This is Sinead, from Newry, making wrist bands with the Irish colours to exchange with other nationalities

Each day, a different message was written in the sky. On this particular day it was “Welcome”

Anita and Sr. Concepta amongst the crowd heading to the opening mass of World Youth Day

At the opening ceremony we happened to meet Nenita, one of the Filipinos who looked after us during our first week in Australia.


Did you have any time for sight-seeing?

Yes we walked over the Harbour bridge, the steps of the Opera House, darling harbour etc. The activities planned each day gave us an opportunity to see more of Sydney from all different aspects. The treasure hunt was very good for this.

How did it feel to be part of this great event?
Amazing. I have now met so many new people both locally and world wide. Currently the group are working together in setting up a project for other youth in Ireland to give them a taste of the experiences we received in Sydney.



This is a picture of us outside the Lindt café

Visiting the wildlife park at Darling Harbour.

WYD banners around Darling Harbour


Some Australian Irish Dancers providing entertainment.

Some police officers kindly stepped in for a photo.

Laura Curtis, from Newry, with her poster that a passerby gave her.

Everyone loved the Irish and the flag. We met many people from different nationalities.

Waiting on the Pope to arrive and yet again more people wanted a photo with us

A screen allowed us to watch the other stations taking place at locations spread out around Sydney

WYD volunteers carry in the World Youth Day cross that had travelled round all parishes in Australia.

The beginning of the re-enacting 4th, 5th and 6th station at Sydney Opera House

Jesus arrives closely followed by a guard

On the steps of Sydney Opera House, standing before Pontius Pilot

The guards tied Jesus up.

Giving Jesus the cross to carry as he makes his way to Darling Harbour for the 7th station.

Some of the group having breakfast before we made our way to the Racecourse to be apart of the closing ceremony.

More of the group waiting patiently on the breakfast

What a smile!

You never know who you might bump into. Some of the girls, from the Armagh Diocese, who go to University with me.

Eadaoin, Andrea and myself with our candles at the Popes Vigil mass.


Entertainment at the German bar.

The Filipino Chaplicancy Chatswood Parish members who took care of us the first week, dining out at a German Bar

Would you encourage others to go to the next one – (in Madrid) – in 2011?
Most definitely. You have to experience it for yourself. If you are aged between 18 and 30 in 2011 sign up for WYD 11.




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