First, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our hosts, the friars of the Australian Province. Unless you have taken part in one, it is hard to imagine how much work needs to be done before, during and after a World Youth Day. They had to arrange lodging for all the friars in our group (and help a few other groups, as well), arrange transportation to and from the events, arrange speakers, musicians and lunches for the catechesis sessions, collect friars from the airport and drop them off again at the end of WYD. Over and above the preparations for WYD, they had to arrange the Reuniting for Renewal program that took place directly before it. In addition, they provided various tours in and around Sydney before and after WYD for those who arrived early or departed later. I got tired just thinking about everything they needed to do. The Australian Province did a superb job of organizing the week and, despite a few glitches and mishaps, everything ran smoothly. Through all of this, they were most gracious hosts, and I wish to take this opportunity to thank them publicly for all their hard work.
Secondly, it seems to me that since WYD is an international event the Order should be involved in it at the international level. I mentioned in a previous post that we should have vocation literature available in various languages, including contact information for vocation promoters in every country where we have a presence. Furthermore, just as there were gatherings for all the pilgrims from various countries or dioceses, I think it would be good to have a gathering of all the Capuchin friars in attendance. During the week, as I met friars from all over the world, I realized that no one really knew how many were attending WYD. Getting all of the friars together for a few hours would provide a clear sign of the international character of the Order, and could help to promote knowledge of and interest in the Order.