My family and I are on our way to World Youth Day (in Gundegai this morning). But here are the photos of the Interfaith Youth Pilgrimage (Photography by Sam Okun of Progressive Photography) which I organised on Sunday at Federation Square in Melbourne for our Days in the Diocese program.
Lots of help from lots of people, including youth from Hindu, Buddhist, Bahai, Muslim, Jewish, other Christian, Indigenous, Brahma Kamari, Sathya Sai, and Sikh communities.
And before you get all critical about syncretism and the like, I just make the note that it was a committment to unity, forgiveness, reconciliation and love for one another for the sake of peace on behalf of the youth of the different faiths.
Cardinal Rodriguez was our main speaker, and he was excellent. The pilgrims really got into the spirit of the thing and added joy and life to the event.
Anybody gonna tell them what was said at the first “papal” event with a large audience — repent and be baptised every one of you for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?
There are many different ways to evangelise, ol’ boy. This is one of them. Acts 2 was another. Someone commented in today’s paper that the Holy Spirit if perhaps the easiest of the three persons of the Trinity for non-Christians to relate to. There was some evidence of God’s Spirit at our meeting – how many other places in the world do you know of where these sorts of events of harmony between local communities exist? Another point: St Peter was preaching to his fellow Jews. We do not know what sort of methods he adopted for dealing directly with Gentiles with no knowledge of Hebrew Scripture. Dialogue is the first step to evangelisation. Just as you don’t ask a girl to marry you on your first date, you don’t ask a non-Christian to be baptised on your first meeting. In fact, in both cases, it may never come to that, yet still friendship is built.
All (that’s all) authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go ye, therefore, make friends of all nations …