I have a confession to make. I am not one of those people who find being in a gigantic crowd for any reason particularly thrilling or impressive. I am frankly relieved and happy when I have survived the whole thing. These sentiments are true for World Youth Day. So take what I have to say with that in mind.
World Youth Day is worth it. It is worth the $155 million dollars that the Australian government spent. It is worth the efforts of Cardinal Pell and all his minions to get it off the ground. It is worth bringing Bl. Pier Giorgio's relics from Italy. It is worth the intercession of John Paul the Great, who inspired the whole thing. It is worth the sacrifices of each pilgrim to be there.
For a brief and shining moment, a small bit of the reality of the kingdom of heaven was experienced in Sydney. I know that sounds really hokey, but it is true. (Sure, there was also a good showing of the human weaknesses within the Church.) I have never experienced anything like a World Youth Day for demonstrating a living witness of the Church's usually hidden mission.
About the best I can say is that I was able to live more as a child of God during WYD.
I doubt that I will have more to say on this topic. Now it is back to preparing for a new year at Vanderbilt. I am very encouraged and excited by what God is doing here. My prayer continues to be not to mess up His work. We have started Masses again. I was surprised by the new faces at the "last chance Mass" Sunday night. Part of the hidden kingdom of God is right here at Vanderbilt.