Hi everyone.  We’ve had another big couple of days and some technical difficulties, which is why this is a bit slow sorry. 

Day 13 we headed to morning Catechesis with Cardinal Patita Pani from Tonga on the theme of ‘Let us be touched by Mercy’. There were a few thousand other English speaking pilgrims there. The basic message was a reminder to allow ourselves to be touched by the mercy of God, and in turn reach out to  others.

We had a little spare time in the city before heading to the Papal welcome. Along with about 1 million other people. It was raining again but it didn’t dampen the spirits.  

Yes the Holy Father did drive past us, but he did look our way.  He gave an excellent homily for young people on how to live their lives in Christ – not to be boring, not to act old, and be agents of change and mercy.  It was quite relevant to our young people. 

Today we made the decision to head back to the major English speaking centre at Tauron Stadium.  It was a good choice and were joined by around 15,000 other pilgrims. Who says young people aren’t interested in their faith! 

We had a wonderful talk by one of the Sisters from The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy – the order St Faustina belonged to. She asked us to join in prayer for the victims and perpetrators of Auschwitz, as Pope  Francis was praying there today.  She asked us to hold our physical crosses in our hands, to remind us of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, for me, and to recommit ourselves to our crosses and Christ.

We then got to hear Cardinal Dolan speak again.  This time on ‘Being Instruments of Mercy’. I found two main messages in there  – Jesus made the Apostles agents of mercy, and now that had been passed to us.  Also from John Paul II  – ‘The law of the gift’. In other words – we are at our best when we give ourselves away.

This afternoon we went for the Stations of the Cross with pilgrims and locals.  We opted for the quieter option today, in the overflow park rather than braving the crowds again. It was a lovely relaxing afternoon.

The images with the stations spoke of what various arms of our church are already doing for works of mercy across the world. 

Across all talks there had been a theme that God freely offers His mercy and forgiveness.  No matter what we’ve done, or keep doing, he is ready and waiting to forgive.  We need to accept that though which a lot of people  struggle with.

It’s late and I’m tired sorry and have  less than 5 hours sleep before getting up for our main pilgrimage walk.  Our adventure is coming to an end.  But not over yet.

Jared Press, one of our pilgrims, has been selected for priority seating for the vigil celebrations with Pope. This is a rare opportunity and while he may not meet the Pope, will be sitting right up the front representing us all!

I apologise if the photos fail due to connection issues.