World Yourh Day
Here in Sydney, Australia the Roman Catholic Church has borrowed the city from Sydneysiders to put on a week long spiritual pilgrimage they call World Youth Day. In a strange way it was like having 100,000 devotees come to town.
It’s been reported that 125,000 visitors have come to Sydney from across the world to attend the event and to join with hundreds of thousands of Australian Catholics.
For that past week Sydney has been filled with thousands of smiling, polite, young people. All are wearing team colours waving national flags, big ones. See the photo below. They also carry merchandise like hats, scarves, bags and jackets all emblazoned with World Youth Day slogans and logos. The jackets are great they are reversible you turn them inside out and you have another World Youth Day jacket. No I didn't get one.
During the day when there are no pilgrimage activities they all march around in groups, great big groups of hundreds, chanting and singing about God and clapping hands going on. It's been going on all over the city it's quite a scene.
One day I was walking through the city during lunchtime and up ahead of me in the a big open air mall i could hear what sounded like hundreds of devotees calling Hari bol, Hari Bol. I rushed on to see what it was and instead I came across a crowd of ‘pilgrims,’ the media are calling them, all in a big circle singing and chanting and clapping hands. They had drums and tambourines and had obviously rehearsed.
I thought to myself that's interesting these people are using the method of Sri Krishna Caitanya to spiritually infuse their children: Chanting the names of God and dancing. All they needed was prasadam.
It was amazing how this group sounded just like a bus load of devotees on Sankirtan. In a way I felt that is exactly what it was, minus the bus. I couldn’t understand them but they were obviously singing about God and would chant Hallelujah, Hallelujah. It was as thrilling as a rousing Kirtan and carried out in the same mood. Thousand of people watched and clapped. We were all standing in an open street mall in the city, thousands of people listening to the Glories of the Lord being sung in our community.
Then the pilgrims started to dance around in a circle. Joyful, some jumping up, spinning around it was a little restrained but it was very affective and the crowd were riveted. It was thrilling almost like a big Kirtan.
Apparently the Late Pope John Paul II was inspired by the massive gatherings of young people in Rome for the 1984 Youth Jubilee and the 1985 United Nations International Year of Youth. He wanted to bring together young Catholics from around the globe to celebrate and learn about their faith on a more regular basis.
It’s been very interesting to observe anyway. Mass public religious behavior.
My friend did give me a souvenir set of Rosary beads. She knows I have a meditation bead collection.