UCA News on World Youth Day

In addition to the links provided here yesterday on additional material for World Youth Day, our friends at the Asian church news agency UCA News also have a special WYD page of their own. Currently at the top of the page is a story about how two Filipino youths used the proceeds from collecting empty plastic bottles to finance their trip to Sydney.

Tuesday’s WYD summary

Here are today’s highlights over at the CNS World Youth Day blog and on the CNS homepage for WYD stories:

– Today’s big World Youth Day event, as most of you know, was the opening Mass. Cindy Wooden, our correspondent traveling with the pope from Rome, wrote our main story, and two of our bloggers have further reflections on the Mass and on Sydney.

(CNS/Paul Haring)

(CNS/Paul Haring)

– Paul Haring, our Washington-based photographer in Sydney, also has dozens of images from the Mass that our publishing clients can access as part of their subscription. We can post only a few of them on our home page, our main WYD page and on our two blogs (main and WYD), but here’s Paul’s photo of cardinals silhouetted by the setting sun as they arrive at the altar for the opening Mass.

– Dozens of pilgrims are at World Youth Day from China. Dan McAloon’s story says they were ecstatic to be there.

More blogging from WYD

At the risk of driving you away from our pages, here is some other coverage and blogging from World Youth Day that may be worth your time:

– The Florida Catholic, which serves most of Florida’s dioceses, has its own set of five bloggers writing from Sydney this week (their biographies are here). Posts so far have included items on experiences with host families in Australia and checking the Great Barrier Reef off the pilgrims’ lists of life goals.

– Another diocesan paper with a blogger in Sydney is The Catholic Sun in Phoenix, which points out that staff writer Ambria Hammel is traveling with a group of Phoenix pilgrims. The paper is putting her posts on its regular blog site, blogtcs.com.

– And most readers here probably already know about the National Catholic Register’s ongoing blog called Pope2008.com since its focus has been on not just this papal trip but on all papal travel this year, including the April visit to the United States and United Nations.

– Also worth checking are the “youth reporters” using palm-sized digital camcorders in a project sponsored by the Web portal MyCatholicVoice. Here’s a fuller explanation from the U.S. bishops’ media relations office, and here’s a link to MyCatholicVoice’s “virtual pilgrimage” to World Youth Day.

“Life without Jesus is like a doughnut…”

Doughnuts. They’re more than circular globs of fried, glazed goodness. (Yum, my mouth’s watering just thinking about it.) They’re a witnessing tool for Rob Evans.

Stephen O’Kane highlights Evans, aka the “Donut Man,” in his story Kid Track Lets Little Children Come to Jesus for the The Georgia Bulletin, newspaper of the Atlanta Archdiocese. The Donut Man was a featured performer at Kid Track, an event for children that was part of last month’s eucharistic congress in Atlanta. Evans has been doing evangelical work with children for over 20 years, but only became a Catholic in 2006.

Evans leads the children, and adults, in singalong Bible songs, stories and games. He rewards them with,  yes that’s right,  doughnuts. But Evans’ tasty moniker didn’t come from his fondness for the tasty treats, but because he lives by the profound mantra that “life without Jesus is like a doughnut — you have a big hole in the middle of your heart.” The popular Evans takes his show across the country and has performances booked through April 2009.

“Here kitty, kitty”

(Cross-posted from CNS World Youth Day blog)

SYDNEY, Australia — The problem with giving the pope a few days of rest is that news editors still want their reporters covering the pope to write something. Sometimes it’s to write anything.

Monday’s big pope news, then, was the fact that members of Opus Dei, which is hosting the pope’s three-days of rest at the Kenthurst Study Centre outside Sydney, assigned an 11-month old gray kitten named Bella to keep the pope company.

Pope Benedict is known to be fond of cats and his personal secretary, Msgr. Georg Ganswein, even wrote the introduction to a children’s book telling the pope’s life story through the eyes of Chico the Cat.

While the folks who answered the phone at Kenthurst this morning (it’s already Tuesday in Australia) were sworn to secrecy and would not answer any questions related to their very special guest or about the kitten, the World Youth Day media office confirmed that the kitty is in residence.

The Vatican Television Center and the Vatican newspaper provided video and photos from the pope’s first full day at Kenthurst, showing him celebrating Mass, taking a stroll and listening to a special concert of classical music. But Bella the cat was nowhere to be seen.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the papal spokesman, briefed reporters last night on the pope’s day. Asked about Bella, he said, “I know nothing about a cat.”

Now, of course, some photographer is dreaming about approaching the Kenthurst house, camera in hand, and whispering, “Here kitty, kitty.”

Monday’s WYD summary

Over at the CNS World Youth Day blog and on the CNS homepage for WYD stories, you’ll find these highlights:

– There’s both a story and a blog post on the prayer vigil this evening in Sydney’s cathedral devoted to how Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati‘s life can be an example for young people. Another of our special WYD bloggers said teens love Frassati “because he was athletic and basically a stud.” (You can read more about devotion to Frassati in this story from the Turin Olympics two years ago.)

– As readers of these pages know, Sydney is crawling with pilgrims, but Pope Benedict spent his first full day in Australia resting outside the city.

Franciscan Brother Algirdas Malakausakis meets a true-blue Aussie, a young koala, at Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney, Australia, July 11. The friar was among a group of 30 Lithuanian World Youth Day pilgrims experiencing an Australian way of life and faith in the Diocese of Parramatta. (CNS/Dan McAloon)

Franciscan Brother Algirdas Malakausakis meets a true-blue Aussie, a young koala, at Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney, Australia, July 11. The friar was among a group of 30 Lithuanian World Youth Day pilgrims experiencing an Australian way of life and faith in the Diocese of Parramatta. (CNS/Dan McAloon)

– Anyone familiar with World Youth Day knows that many pilgrims participate beforehand in Days in the Diocese programs hosted by local sees, and we ran a story on one of them to go with the cute picture we posted on our homepage the other day of the brother and the koala (right).

More to come tomorrow, including the opening Mass for World Youth Day.

The beauty of the past

In order to move forward, it is important to know the past. Things in the past can provide us with a wealth of knowledge and inspiration that makes moving forward a little easer, or at least better. It’s something people tend to forget.

Fellow intern Geoffrey Brooke sent me this page from The Catholic Telegraph, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The Telegraph has rereleased some older pictures, going as far back as 1948. They are really quite interesting, and beautiful.

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