50 Knights of Columbus collegians arrived over the weekend and have been a huge help today on the set up. They are a fantastic group of young men from universities throughout the USA and have been set up with luxury pilgrim accomodations, staying in an empty building nearby fittingly named Pioneer House, camping out on the floor. Actually, most of the pilgrims are roughing it, sleeping in Catholic Schools around Sydney. There are 200 Italian pilgrims staying at the parish near us in Abbotsford, sleeping on the school's gym floor and sharing the 4 temporary showers brought in for the event - fun! Luckily most of the large events are outdoors :).
Pilgrims are flooding into Sydney Harbor now. We have met groups from Spain, South Korea, Italy, Poland, Germany, Africa, Tongo, France, New Zealand, Canada, Papua New Guinea, and Puerto Rico so far. The Holy Father arrived in Australia yesterday and you can feel the excitement mounting. It's even spreading to the locals now. They have thoroughly warmed up to the Sisters, so much so that we can't go out without being stopped numerous times for photos and conversations.
The Holy Father has definitely brought the power of the Holy Spirit with him. So many stories to tell about yesterday. Since it was Sunday, we couldn't work, so we split up to see some of the favorite local spots: Bondi Beach, the Botanical Gardens, and a bunch of us took the ferry to Manley and Sr. Maria Kateri, Sr. Elizabeth Ann, Sr. Mary Gabriel and I took the bush walk (an Aussie hike) out to North Point. Everyone came home rejuvenated by the spectacular beauty experienced and full of what we call "God stories" -- encounters with people that only the Holy Spirit could arrange. More on that later - it's time for Holy Hour. Check back for some photos from today, Alton from the Knights is going to post them later.
Sr. Mary Elizabeth, SV