The second week of our World Youth Day pilgrimage in Broken Bay, Italy, has concluded, leaving behind a trail of unforgettable moments and meaningful connections. Our students are now gearing up to be a part of the World Youth Day celebrations in Portugal. Alongside them, our direct pilgrims from Broken Bay are also set to join the WYD festivities.
Adding to the excitement, our Director of Schools, Danny Casey, has joined our students, staff, and clergy in embracing these incredible celebrations. To catch a glimpse of all that unfolded this week, keep reading and discover the wide array of experiences that have enriched our journey.
Day 7 – Thursday, 27th July 2023 #bbwyd_peace
We spent the day exploring Assisi. After breakfast, we enjoy a guided tour through some of the town’s highlights including: Our first stop the serene Church of San Damiano, where time seemed to stand still. We ventured into the very chapel that marked the beginning of St. Francis’s calling, where the voice of Christ spoke to Francis in the year 1205.
A step further led us to the first monastery of the Order of St. Clare, where Clare built her community in close friendship with Francis. Clare and Francis’s connection was woven into the very fabric of these walls, a living testament to their devotion.
Yet, the pinnacle of our day came as we ascended to the Hermitage, a sanctuary of serenity nestled in the woods. This oasis was built upon a simple cave where St. Francis often withdrew and spent many hours in prayer. The cave and the Chapel of Our Lady are preserved in the Hermitage.
We ended our tour at the Basilica of St Clare where we will proceed to the side chapel to pray before the Holy Crucifix from which God spoke to Francis “Go and repair my Church which as you see is in ruins”. Here too we can also take the stairway down to the crypt where the body of Clare, partially restored, is displayed.
We were fortunate to visit the tomb of Blessed Carlo Acutis, an Italian teenager who deeply revered the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and skilled in computer programming. From ages 12 to 14, he crafted a website cataloguing worldwide Eucharistic miracles, launching it in 2005. He passed away at 15 due to leukemia, offering his suffering for the pope and the Church.
Day 8 – Friday, 28th July 2023 #bbwyd_miracle
We conclude our time in Asissi with Mass and a guided exploration of St Francis and travel south to the remove village of Cascia, home to the shrine of St Rita, patron saint of impossible cases. We visit the magnificent Basilica of St Rita and walk through the ancient Monastery of St Rita. We view the exposed Eucharistic Miracle before making our way to Robe.
Day 9- Saturday 29th July #bbwyd_rome
Our pilgrimage set off with a visit to the Vatican Museums this morning, a truly remarkable start. We explored the intricate beauty of the Sistine Chapel, adorned with breathtaking masterpieces crafted by Michelangelo. St. Peter’s Basilica stood awe-inspiring, and the impact of Michelangelo’s Pieta was profound. Our journey also led us to the tomb of a pope, a solemn reminder of the Vatican’s historical significance.
The day unfolded in the midst of intense heat and humidity, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of fellow tourists. Amidst these challenges, we found ourselves immersed in a realm of beauty, art, history, and tradition.
Our encounter with the Vatican was nothing short of incredible. As we navigated through the vibrant tapestry of this sacred place, we were reminded of the profound impact of human creativity and devotion.
Day 10- Sunday 30th July #bbwyd_universal
Highlights from our last full day in Rome:
Basilica of St Paul Without Walls
Day 11- Monday 31st July #bbwyd_withhaste
Depart Italy and fly to Portugal
Starting the morning with prayer and reflection, we began our journey on to Lisbon.
Today we bid our time in Italy with a “Ciao” and greeted Portugal with a cheerful “Olá.”
Our excitement grew as we received our WYD23 pilgrim packs and completed our online registrations, officially launching into the exciting week of World Youth Day!
As we step into this new phase of our pilgrimage, your prayers are greatly appreciated. This journey is the most anticipated part yet, and we can’t wait to embrace all that lies ahead.