Students sang and danced together, discussed their experience in small groups, explored the Panama canal and enjoyed the pools and beaches surrounding their resort before starting their return journey to Sydney on 30 January.
Michael Neylan, Leader of Learning: Youth Ministry, said the retreat was designed to offer students an opportunity to really reflect on their experience and how it has affected them.
Be willing to be an example of God and reach out to others
“Rather than just getting on a plane straight away and it all being a blur they have an opportunity to figure out what they want to bring back home into their lives”
Steve Angrisano, a Catholic singer and songwriter, led students and staff in praise and worship, as well as in thinking through all they’d learned in Panama.
He invited pilgrims to consider what made World Youth Day different to life back home, and to create a ‘re-entry’ plan to ensure they could continue in joy and faith back on Aussie soil.
“Be willing to be an example of God and reach out to others,” he said. “Sometimes it is in the smallest moments that God can speak through you.”
Students also reunited with other Sydney pilgrims on their penultimate day overseas for a special Mass led by Archbishop Anthony Fisher to celebrate the feast day of St Thomas Aquinas.
They were encouraged by homilies from both the Archbishop and Bishop Richard Umbers during the final days of their trip.