St Finbar's Glenbrook Parish

Lunch of a lifetime: Breaking bread with the Pope


Parramatta pilgrim’s lunch with Benedict XVI

WYD Claire Brown News Story
Catholic Diocese of Parramatta pilgrim Claire Brown (second from left) and the other youth representatives during their World Youth Day lunch with Pope Benedict XVI.


Catholic Diocese of Parramatta pilgrim Claire Brown has experienced the lunch of a lifetime during World Youth Day (WYD) 2011 Madrid, sharing a meal with Pope Benedict XVI.

Claire - a parishioner from St Finbar’s Parish in Glenbrook and Parramatta Viva Spain & Italy pilgrim - was one of 12 young people given the honour of lunching with the Holy Father at the Apostolic Nunciature.

His Holiness sat at a round table with the 12 young people, two of whom were representing WYD host country Spain, along with two representatives from each of the five continents.

"It was a fantastic experience, an honour and a privilege to be in the presence of the Holy Father with youth from around the world. It's something that I will never forget," Claire said.

"He called us all to bring back to our parishes and our nations the love of Jesus Christ to share with the world."

Claire described the Holy Father as being 'very gentle, very peaceful - a lovely man to be around'.

"It wasn't a nervous experience at all. It was just a lovely thing to be in his presence," she said.

Claire said the meeting added to the spirtual journey she had undertaken, allowing her to share the experience with her fellow pilgrims along the road to World Youth Day.

The Holy Father also spoke to Claire and the other young pilgrims about new technologies and Facebook. He said that the Church has been communicating for 2,000 years, and today it should also be present in the virtual plaza, using these new instruments for the proclamation of the Gospel.

Vatican Press Office Director Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said each of the 12 young people spoke with the Pope, "relating the sentiments and emotions they are experiencing as they participate in WYD, bringing as well the sentiments of all the youth of the country they represent."

"The Pope listened to each one of them, choosing to listen more than to speak," Fr Lombardi said.

A video interview with Claire by Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Executive Director of Schools Greg Whitby can be viewed at the Catholic Youth Parramatta Site's Viva Spain & Madrid WYD Pilgrimage Blog

Read original article at

Moved to tears meeting with the Pope

Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Schools WYD Coordinator, Bethany Lentern, was one of an international group of young people who met the Pope on his arrival at Madrid's Plaza de Cibeles for WYD11.

"When he smiled at me, it felt as though I was the only one he cared about at that point in time," Bethany writes in her Holy Land to Madrid WYD Blog.

"His eyes are amazing, very peace-filled and he just seemed to glow with the Holy Spirit. After meeting him I found myself moved to tears, I was just so overwhelmed by this gentle, simple man."

Read Bethany's blog in full at the Catholic Youth Parramatta Site


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