PUBLISHED: 3:49 PM on Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Local teens, young at heart heading to Australia
Letter to the editor
Ah, the Outback! Koalas, 'roos, Tasmanian devils, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Holy Father?! What's going on, you might ask. Well, not to worry.

At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, the Pope has not, in fact, become a marsupial. No, indeed, what's happening is something much greater; namely, World Youth Day! In July 2008, potentially four million of the young and young at heart will descend upon Sydney, Australia for a week-long celebration of the Catholic Faith. Imagine it- folks from six continents all gathered together for one sole purpose!

While World Youth Day itself is really a pilgrimage, or a religious journey, a major highlight of the trip will be the final celebration of Mass on a large field, which follows an all-night vigil on that same field. Pope Benedict XVI will be present, to encourage and to pray with those gathered physically and in spirit. While the trip has already required much planning and fund-raising, we press on toward our goal. Until the day we hop on that plane bound for Seattle, then LA, then Australia, we'll continue to prepare ourselves as a team of pilgrims, and as individuals setting out on a sort of quest.

As one of about fifteen folks from Southeast planning to make this journey, I encourage anyone interested who has not already enquired further to do so- it's not too late! For those who will be contentedly remaining in Southeast enjoying the fireweed and the sunshine, you may at this juncture be wondering "gosh, how can I support this WONDERFUL group of folks, who are going to represent the best of Alaska to the world community?" Aha, but have I got an idea?! We will, for the next three months, be selling a limited number of cash calendar tickets. That is, following sales, each day for six months a ticket will be drawn. There will be a cash amount pre-assigned for each day, ranging from $20 to upwards of $200, and so the odds of "winning back" one's money are very good. The tickets will be on sale at St. Paul's Catholic Church and at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary here in Juneau, as well as in other communities.

Also, please look for us in other locations, such as the malls and grocery stores. In advance, we very greatly appreciate your support, and will keep you updated on our progress. Please feel free to contact me, Sarah Rensel, for more information or to purchase tickets. 907-523-4666. Thanks so much!

Sarah Rensel