Nearly 1500 people were present at the showground on Monday to witness the arrival of the Cross and the Icon, brought by members of the Armidale Diocese to Bingara.
Pat Clancy, Chairman of the Diocesan Vocations Committee, said that the walk from the outskirts of Bingara to the showground was a kind of “pilgrimage”. It served to "make young people aware that they are not alone. That there was a death and a resurrection and that although there is suffering in the world, someone has suffered before us, giving the promise that we can all meet that man one day, if we choose to do so.”
The Cross has been travelling since the last World Youth Day, held in Cologne, Germany in 2007. It will reach Sydney for this year’s World Youth Day in July. Mr Clancy said the walk is not just a Catholic event, it is for everyone to realise God has a plan and how we respond to that is very important. The theme of the walk is that you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.
About 80 walkers escorted the Cross and Icon into town. McCarthy High (Tamworth) student, Katie Lillyman, reported that “the cross was really heavy”, commenting that “you could imagine yourself walking in the footsteps of Jesus, except that our pain was nothing compared with his.”
Geraldine Chapman, Principal of St Michael’s School, Manilla said that it had been great to be a part of the journey of the Cross and Icon. She said that “the Cross has been to Ground Zero, behind the Iron Curtain and has been a part of our large world which has been brought together today in the centre of the Armidale Diocese, in the small town of Bingara.