Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ain't no party like a Holy Ghost party

Sent by John Schaffhausen - Office of Youth Ministry
Pilgrims at a Bondi beach concert and festival on Wednesday evening. Cultural exhibitions, testimonies, and other events went on there all day long.

Some of my favorite parts of World Youth Day are the spontaneous songs and dances that break out anywhere in the streets and especially on the public transportation. One memorable chant went something like this:

"Ain't no party like a Holy Ghost party 'cause a Holy Ghost party don't stop!!"

(That's a take-off on Rappin' Franciscan Fr. Stan Fortuna's - Ain't no party like the Catholic party)


"I say Jesus you say Christ! Jesus! CHRIST! Jesus! CHRIST!"

Add that to something our teaching bishop, Most Reverend Colin David Campbell of New Zealand, said this morning, "If you're not any fun, what kind of gospel are you preaching with your life? Who is going to follow you?" WYD 2008 lesson Number One is the Holy Spirit is JOYFUL!

It is a joyful thing to be able to converse with anyone on the street, a stranger from any country in the world and immediately feel like friends.

Hearing Aborigine Techno music in Darling Harbor was joyful.

It is joyful to hear about a resurgence in Australian Catholic youth learning about the richness of our faith and witness to Christ. Particularly enjoyable were the first-try Vegemite stories from our homestays. A classic favorite here, Vegemite is a dark brown, tarry-looking, salty yeast by-product apparently eaten commonly at breakfast on toast.

So for the next week, joy will certainly continue to permeate the atmosphere as we welcome the Holy Father, pray, sing, chant, dance, make new friends, eat new foods, see new sights and discover a new openness to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I think God is telling us something of what that Presence looks like.

Waiting in line for lunch outside our Catechesis site. Menu: barbecued sausages (big hot dogs) on white bread with ketchup and fried onions, lots of fresh fruit, and TimTams, an excellent chocolate wafer bar.

It is 11:47PM and I'm finally back at my "HomeStay" in Wahroonga, which means "our home". During the 30 minute train ride from downtown Sydney I fell asleep and awoke barely in time for my stop, a simple but significant demonstration of the Holy Spirit watching over me and all the pilgrims here, making sure we are where we need to be at any moment.