No one WYD is the same. Each WYD is flavoured by such things as the vision of its organizing committee, the charm of its host city and by the spirit of the pilgrims themselves. My experience in Rome (2000) was different than that of Toronto (2002) and both experiences were different than those here in Sydney.
WYD in Rome changed my life. It set in motion a series of events that would lead me to change my University major (from Economics to Theology), pursue a vocation to teaching in a different province (from Quebec to Ontario) and one that would eventually lead me to meet my husband (Salt + Light producer Sébastien Lacroix). Because of all of these remarkable things it would be unfair to expect my experience in Rome to be duplicated. WYD in Sydney has been incredible in its own right. Most importantly, this WYD has been for me a source of much needed renewal. The moments of prayer and catechesis, the youth festivals and the witness of the pilgrims have all provided me with nourishment for the challenges that await me back home.
Having said this, I must also admit that this WYD is in all likelihood my last. With the help of a good friend I realized that WYD is not meant to be never-ending. A pilgrim’s goal should not be to attend as many WYDs as possible. The goal of WYD is instead to ignite a spark or to fan a flame, so that you can return home and share that fire with family, friends, school or parish communities. WYD is meant to transform you so that you can then transform the world. It is in this way that the spirit of WYD will live on past the actual pilgrimages, it is in this way that we will, in a matter of speaking, continuously live WYD.