Katherine Spencer, Archbishop’s Office for Youth
Today in Mexico, the 44 Melbourne World Youth Day pilgrims finally reached a real pinnacle in our pilgrimage: the reason we came to Mexico, to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Shrine is visited by thousands of people each day with enormous crowds. Our pilgrimage started with a 3km walk to the Shrine. We joined with the Sydney Archdiocese schools group and the Diocese of Parramatta including Bishop Long. The walk was full of song, prayer and flag waving as we enjoyed the beautiful pilgrimage to such a wondrous site.
We arrived at the Shrine and joined the crowds standing on airport-style travellators to keep the lines moving. We came to the original tilma that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on to Juan Diego. The Shrine itself is in the most amazing condition and it takes your breath away.
After a tour of the area, we joined the other dioceses again to celebrate Mass at the old Basilica, which, like most of Mexico City, is sinking! They have reinforced the beautiful church but it has quite an obvious lean. We filled the church as Archbishop Peter with Bishop Long and all the other priests celebrated Mass together. After Mass, two of our pilgrims—Thandi and Cameron—were selected by the group to accompany the Archbishop to have a special viewing of the tilma. They were overcome with emotion by its power and beauty.
After more time at the Shrine, we returned to the hotel for our last night in Mexico. We’ll travel on to Panama tomorrow where World Youth Day awaits.
Visit the AOFY Facebook page to see a video of pilgrim Thandi talking about her experience.