East Texans Go To World Youth Day & See Pope

11 East Texans were in Sydney, Australia last week for World Youth Day.

Not many East Texans get to watch Pope Benedict XVI addressing the masses. Between 350,000 to 500,000 people were in attendance.

23 year old Joanna Garcia of Tyler, who went with the group from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, said seeing people from 200 countries was simply incredible.

"It's very neat to feel that and know that there are so many people going through the same things as you are faith wise, and exciting to know that you are all there for one thing: To see the Pope and experience the Holy Spirit," said Joanna.

"All you have to do is walk 10 feet to talk to someone from Italy, then go talk to somebody from Singapore, Malaysia. It really was like the world in one little area, in one city," said Pat Russell.

From daily mass to a pilgrimage walk across the city, the group came back exhausted from the week's events.

"I was just kinda burnt out and going there and seeing this and feeling the energy coming from that whole event ... kind of got me more interested.  It inspired me to improve my prayer life," said Pat.

"To actually experience Jesus, one on one, in the still quiet times among all the noise," said Matt Oxler, Youth Minister of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. "But also experiencing Christ, as the body of Christ, with so many people. All witnessing our faith and proclaiming it, in everything we do."

A trip that revitalized and sparked an internal flame of faith. The group wanted to mention a special thanks to all the people that supported them.

The next World Youth Day is in 3 years in Madrid, Spain. Many of the group said they are already planning on going.

Danielle Capper, Reporting. dcapper@kltv.com