Maronites join World Youth Day Pilgrims from Australia

A large group of Australian Maronites has joined more than 3000 Australian pilgrims who will attend World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal with groups also preparing to visit key holy sites in the Middle East and Europe.

The Dioceses of Broken Bay and Parramatta each have about 180 pilgrims, the Maronite Diocese of Australia more than 100 and the Neo-Catechumenal Way will have about 300 pilgrims from Australia.

Eighteen Australian bishops are travelling to Lisbon, with many of them invited to lead catechesis sessions to help with the formation of pilgrims.

Almost all Australian groups will make pilgrimages to holy places on their way to Lisbon or on the way back.

Fatima, the site of a series of Marian apparitions to three children reported in 1917, is the most popular destination for those pilgrimages, but large group will visit the Holy Land, Lourdes or Rome.

Archbishop Christopher Prowse, the chair of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry, said it has been a joy to see how many young people have taken up Pope Francis’ invitation.

Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, Maronite Bishop of Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, extended his blessings to each one of you embarking on this sacred journey.

“With pilgrims gathering from every corner of the world, you represent the unity and diversity of our global Catholic community but specifically your Maronite spirituality and heritage. Your presence in Lisbon, the Holy Land and for some of you Lebanon, brings together hearts and spirits seeking to strengthen their faith, live the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and share in His mission in the world today,” Bishop Tarabay added.

“Remember, you carry the hopes and dreams of your families, parishes, and communities with you. May your pilgrimage be filled with the Holy Spirit as you pray, reflect and share meaningful experiences with fellow pilgrims. May it be filled with moments of grace and revelation,” Bishop Tarabay emphasized.