Monday, August 4, 2008

WYD 2008 and the Pacific Islanders

WYD 2008: Samoa's Catholic Youth Performance

I was watching World Youth Day 2008 and I was impressed with the focus on Pacific Islanders especially the Catholics from Fiji. Why? Just because I didn’t know a darn thing about the Catholic Church in Fiji, Samoa, the Marshals or any of the islands of the Pacific.

Fiji sent over 300 delegates to WYD. They also had a three day seminar and celebration in Suva during WYD. A Fijian choir sang during the opening Mass.

Papua New Guinea and New Zealand accounted for over 7000 pilgrim to WYD. Another 1000 pilgrims came from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

The drums, the dancing even the liturgical dance gave testimony to the fact that the world was witnessing the gathering of a Universal Church and not simply a colonial-European church.

The other emphasis was on the aboriginal peoples of Australia and New Zealand. They were honored, their history respected and they were not a token after thought.

A Universal Church? Well, our last two popes were not Italian. Who knows, the next may not even be European. Now that would send a message of welcome to many who feel they have become invisible.

So to the youth, the dancers, the choirs, the pilgrims of the many island nations of the Pacific, thank you for helping me see just how big, diverse and beautiful our church actually is.

WYD 2008: Australia's Tongan Catholic Youth

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