National Catholic Register


The Pilgrims’ Return

BY Father Owen Kearns, LC


July 27-August 9, 2008 Issue | Posted 7/22/08 at 12:37 PM


World Youth Day was, as always, a great success. The dynamic we have noted here before didn’t fail. Locals often start out hostile. When they see the excitement — and good behavior — of the young people in their midst, a change of heart begins. When the Holy Father arrives, and with him, an intangible kind of feeling of peace and joy, they are completely won over.

At the Register’s blog about the event,, Tim Drake compared headlines in Sydney from before and after the Pope came. The headlines started out wary: “Living on a Prayer,” “Pope in Sydney: Mass Hysteria” and “Sea of the Young and Devout Swamps Dormant Dockland.”

On the last day, the headlines were enthusiastic: “Tsunami of Faith and Joy,” “From Darkness to Light in the Cauldron of Souls” and “Pope’s Age of Renewal.”

But one last headline from the Daily Telegraph is telling: “In Good Faith: The Irrepressible Spirit of the World Youth Day Pilgrims Has Transformed an Entire City,” proclaimed the paper.

When the pilgrims return to their homelands, they can do more than transform a city. They can transform the future of the Church and, with it, our society.