Notre Dame's WYD pilgrims return

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 2-9-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



They unpacked and re-packed their bags dozens of times over three weeks, across four countries. This week, the World Youth Day pilgrims from The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus, unpacked their bags for the final time on home soil.

All 23 student pilgrims are now home from their trip to Madrid. On Monday 5 September, the University will officially welcome them home with a Mass and a free barbecue lunch in the Courtyard. The pilgrims will be sharing their stories from the road to Madrid and everyone is welcome to join the gathering.

Jessica Langrell, Student Chaplaincy Convenor Sydney Campus, made the pilgrimage herself and said it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“Our Holy Land group was made up of 120 Australians, one Cardinal, three Priests and one Seminarian and each of our Masses were celebrated at some of the most important places in the history of humanity,” Ms Langrell said.

“To celebrate the mystery of Mass on a daily basis alongside other young Australian Catholics and leaders in our Church was a humbling experience and it has inspired a deep desire within me to attend Mass more fervently back home.”

The University community has been eagerly following the students’ journey through their blog posts since they left Sydney in early August. It has provided a window into the emotional journey undertaken by the young pilgrims.

In one of her blog posts, pilgrim Madeleine Vella, reflected on how the physical presence of so many people at World Youth Day prompted her realisation that Catholicism binds humanity across cultures and continents.

“Surrounded by thousands of people that I had never met at the Papal arrival in Cibeles Square, I was hit with a confronting reality,” Ms Vella said.

“All around me were people from countries I had only heard about or seen on a map; but there they were, in front of me, introducing themselves and discussing the mysteries of our faith. It began to really sink in how through our faith in Christ, we are united!”

The students agreed that their faith has been strengthened by their pilgrimage and they look forward to sharing with their peers the messages they received on the road to World Youth Day.

The University invites all staff and students to attend the ‘Welcome Home Pilgrims Party’. Mass will be held at St Benedict’s Church at 12.30pm, followed by a barbecue lunch and cakes in the Courtyard at 1.00pm, where a number of pilgrims will be sharing their reflections.

To find out more about the WYD Pilgrimage go to - ndwydpilgrimage.blogspot.com/

For further information please contact: Communications Officer, Elizabeth Fenech

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus

T: 02 8204 4407 E: elizabeth.fenech@nd.edu.au W: www.nd.edu.au/