Why World Youth Day was a life-changing experience for seminarian Macky Amores

By Antony Lawes, 11 April 2024
Seminarians Macky Amores (centre) and Menard Gaspi (right) with Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, at the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris during the Diocese of Parramatta's World Youth Day pilgrimage in July 2023. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


Holy Spirit Seminarian Macky Amores’ World Youth Day pilgrimage in 2023 was a life-changing time in his ongoing formation to become a priest.

Not only did it deepen Macky’s faith, it gave him experiences that have helped him grow as a person and better equipped him to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Macky travelled to World Youth Day with fellow seminarian Menard Gaspi and 170 other pilgrims from the Diocese of Parramatta. During the trip, they travelled through several countries, visited sacred Christian sites, and met many pilgrims from around the world. This melting-pot environment, with everyone there for a common purpose, gave Macky – a self-confessed shy person – the courage to try new things and to meet new people.

“One thing that really strengthened my faith was the eagerness of everyone there – to do activities together, to see Pope Francis, and attend the talks.

He remembers one time when he and Menard were together having dinner and he overcame this shyness and approached a nearby group. They started talking and Macky discovered they were from South Korea and volunteering at World Youth Day.

Seminarian Macky Amores (centre) with members of his pilgrimage group during the Diocese of Parramatta’s World Youth Day pilgrimage in July 2023. Image: Diocese of Parramatta

He says this gave him greater confidence in future encounters with others.

“That’s one of the attitudes that changed in me,” he says. “I know I can approach people. World Youth Day has given me that realisation, the courage to make a step.”

Macky says another realisation from World Youth Day was the importance of giving himself to others – “because sometimes they need someone to stand with them”.

He remembers a time when he was walking with a group on the way to the last Mass of World Youth Day, where Pope Francis was taking part.

“It was a great takeaway moment for me because the experience was so good,” he says. “Our presence, our bonding, our talking, our laughing, the time that we enjoyed walking together.

“We had a common goal to be with Christ and experience His presence in the company of one another.”

Seminarian Macky Amores (left) speaks with international pilgrims ahead of the Final Mass during World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, in July 2023. Image: Diocese of Parramatta

Macky is now applying the lessons learnt during World Youth Day in his parish placements in the Diocese.

“Now I’m more comfortable approaching parishioners at St Mary of the Cross MacKillop Parish, Upper Blue Mountains,” he says.

“This newfound confidence is a great change for me and has given me the ability to take the first step in reaching out to people.”

Seminarian Macky Amores interacts with a parishioner and her daughter following Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. Image: Diocese of Parramatta

Macky says he is very grateful for the opportunity to have gone to World Youth Day, a life-changing experience that was made possible thanks to the generosity of people in the Diocese of Parramatta who support the Holy Spirit Seminary.

“It’s a very great blessing for us, and I’m very thankful for what they’re giving us, because it’s not just the money, it’s their prayers, and support on our journey to becoming priests.

“It gives us more inspiration and motivation to continue with our vocation, to be of service.”

You can support Macky and all our Holy Spirit Seminarians to “go further out into the deep”. To make your donation please call (02) 8838 3482, or visit yourcatholicfoundation.org.au/bishops-good-shepherd-co-appeal-24


Read Daily
* indicates required