WYD 2019: Pope meets SCS pilgrim, calls youth to love Christ and others

Every pilgrim from Sydney Catholic Schools was excited to welcome Pope Francis to Panama – but only one got to shake his hand in greeting.

SCS student Sedra Wadeea met the Holy Father alongside a pilgrim from New Zealand during the Mass that officially welcomed the Pope to World Youth Day on the 24th of January.

Sedra, a Mary Mackillop Catholic College Wakeley student, joined the college’s Catholic Intensive English Centre (CIEC) program as a refugee newly arrived from Iran in 2017.

Sedra Wadeea with the rosary given to her by Pope Francis

She said there were “no words” to describe meeting the Pope as a representative of her new home and Oceania in front of a crowd of hundreds of thousands.

“I had so many things on my mind to tell the Pope about, but once I saw him I forgot everything – I even forgot my name!” Sedra said.

“I just told him ‘I’m so happy to be here with you’ and then he laughed – it was an amazing moment.”

Sedra and other students spent the morning of the 24th attending Catechesis and attending a Q and A before welcoming the Pope and celebrating Mass together. 

Despite heavy crowds, students mingled ahead of the Mass and chanted with visitors from all over the world “Esta es la joventud del papa!” Spanish for ‘we are the youth of the Pope.”

In his address to the gathered pilgrims, the Holy Father thanked them for making the journey to Central America and encouraged them to heed the advice of one of its best loved patrons – Saint Oscar Romero.

It was an amazing moment

– Sedra Wadeea

“A saint from these lands liked to say that, ‘Christianity is not a collection of truths to be believed, of rules to be followed, or of prohibitions. Seen that way it puts us off. Christianity is a person who loved me immensely, who demands and asks for my love. Christianity is Christ.'”

“It means pursuing the dream for which he gave his life: loving with the same love with which he loved us.”

“A love that does not overwhelm or oppress, cast aside or reduce to silence, humiliate or domineer. It is the love of the Lord, a daily, discreet and respectful love; a love that is free and freeing, a love that heals and raises up…It is the quiet love of a hand outstretched to serve, a commitment that draws no attention to itself.”

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