19-July-2008 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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On a Boat With the Pope: Unforgettable

SYDNEY, Australia, JULY 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Two young Chileans thought they were the object of a joke when they received e-mails saying they would ride the boat-a-cade that would take Benedict XVI to his World Youth Day arrival.

Jorge Juárez and Ane Marie Kampp registered for a random drawing on the official World Youth Day page, without thinking seriously that that click would make possible an unforgettable adventure, reported the Chilean episcopal conference.

Juárez said he has been serving the Church for years, but what he experienced in Sydney would make him deepen his faith. "I feel the responsibility to communicate a message of hope; this is what Benedict transmits."

The winners of the drawing were allowed to invite another pilgrim to accompany them. Juárez chose his friend Veronica Basaure.

"I felt somewhat alone before all this, when we started the project with the youngsters of my community of St. Augustine. Then we began to unite and commit ourselves. Now I know it was the best thing I could have done. I have the certainty that I'm not alone, that God accompanies me and has allowed me to experience all this. I don't know how to describe it, I only want to be very grateful," she said.

Kampp is one of the mothers accompanying the Chilean delegation. She is convinced that the family is the privileged place to share faith in Christ. "I have always lived my faith. I went to the meeting in Cologne and it was also powerful. And now all this, to be close to the Pope in this beautiful place. And my son was five meters away from him. I hope that he and the whole family will be able to transmit this when we return and will enable us to get nearer to being more Christian, better persons in Christ's image."

Kampp chose Vanessa Soto to accompany her. Soto is a parish leader and has been preparing for the pilgrimage to Australia for months.

"I have faith, but today I renewed it," she said. "This experience of coming on the escort ship, of seeing so many young people in the bay, of sensing that Christ is in the whole world, commits me, feeds me, impels me to go to new places to say that I am a Christian. I am very happy."

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