Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Multiplying the loaves - how to feed hundreds of pilgrims

Whew - how do you feed hundreds of hungry young people from 8 AM to 10 PM at night? With lots of help from prayer and many new good friends!

We wanted to make sure every pilgrim that came to the love and life site would be able to say they had been fed - spiritually and physically. Thus was born "Cafe Benedicto - holding the keys to a good cup of java." This on-site cafe has been providing tea, coffee, hot chocolate, fruit, cookies and food to all the hundreds with whom we have been so privileged to spend these past two days. It has become a great spot to relax, warm up a bit when you're cold, and talk with any number of new friends you've made while participating in the activities at the Love and Life Site.

However, for me, as a Sister working in the cafe, I have been witness to many "mini-miracles" of generosity. As you can imagine, we couldn't quite cross the US and the Pacific Ocean with enough coffee and cookies to feed the thousands we hoped to see at our site (though we did make a last minute trip to Costco and brought with us over 30 pounds of Oreos)! But upon our arrival in Sydney, we have been so blessed with the generosity of many of the Sydney-siders we've met:

  • the parishioners of All Hallows Church who pitched in with a cookie drive to provide more baked goods for the cafe;

  • the local bakeries and fruit markets that so kindly contributed to the cause;

  • new friends in the local Philippino community who helped supply us with coffee;

  • and not least of all, the amazing help of Lebanese Maronite Catholics who volunteered to prepare homemade Lebanese food to help feed the pilgrims Wednesday night, so they didn't have to travel off-site to get their supper. What a feast we enjoyed here so everyone could stay and enjoy "Under the Southern Cross" as it took the stage!

  • For me personally, I have loved talking with pilgrims from all over the world while working in the cafe. I've chatted with young people from Melbourne, Australia; Portland, Oregon; the island of Tonga; Brazil; Columbia; Dunedin, New Zealand; Irving, Texas and many more!! I'm looking forward to many more great conversations this last day-and-a-half!

    -Sr. Maura Walter, S.V.


    Gina said...

    Ahhhh, my dear Sisters of Life!

    Great posts & pics SMW!!!! What an awesome ministry you all have at WYD. Certainly the Lord will bless every sister with many graces. As always, you will receive so much more than give.

    Can you see why I love WYD so much????

    It is truly a celebration of the universal Church and young people are so full of life. What great witnesses every young adult is to each one of us.

    The words of Pope Benedict have been so inspiring. Oh, how I wish I could be there, too, but I have been by blessed by watching it on EWTN.

    May the Holy Spirit fill each and every pilgrim with the grace to follow Jesus with their entire lives!

    Love to all the Sisters,
    Gina the Great
    St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

    Bonnie said...

    I LOVE the name of the cafe - that's great!