At 10:48AM Eastern Australian Daylight Time, the Notre Dame Folk Choir arrived in Melbourne! It took a total of about thirty-eight hours of bus, airport, flying, and holdover times to make it happen, but a momentous cheer went up from everyone when Air New Zealand flight #123 landed on a windy and cool day.
There to meet us were the amazing trio of people who’ve been with our plans from the start: Dr. Clare Johnson, Professor of Liturgy at ACU and the newly appointed Director of Australia’s National Liturgy Centre; Carmel Taffa, Administrative assistant to the Vice President for Mission and Engagement, and Father Anthony Casamento, the VP for Mission and Engagement for Australian Catholic University. What was tangible to all: the joy and anticipation of sixteen months of teleconferences, discussions on workshops and itinerary suggestions.
Before our "forced march" for the day: ACU gifted each one of our ensemble with a new backpack, a hoodie sweatshirt, a diary, a baseball cap, a water bottle – all the essentials a student pilgrim could ask for while traipsing around a foreign country!
Then it was off to Melbourne, for an important “forced march” day of staying awake – critical to changing our clocks!
Melbourne is a delightful city: priorities correct, they are great lovers of coffee, people watching, beautiful parks, urban art. Australian Catholic University has its southernmost campus in this city, which has a wonderful European feel about it.
Then it was off to Melbourne for hours of walking, people watching, touring – mostly hours of just staying awake, as this will be critical to our jumping into a full day of liturgical work tomorrow.