The exchange was one of 10 groups that were all part of Catholic Mission's Youth Exchange program in preparation for 2008 World Youth Day celebrations to various destinations including Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna.
Next year 125 Tongans will visit Port Macquarie before heading to Sydney for celebrations, culminating with the Pope saying Mass.
The Port Macquarie group experienced many highlights during their amazing experience, with the Tongan Bishop's Consecration and Feast being the focal point.
Throughout the trip the Australians visited primary and secondary schools. The group was also fortunate enough to be able to experience the home life of everyday Tongan families with home stays on both the main island and a smaller island 'Eua. These home stays highlighted the differences between the Australian and Tongan cultures and provided an opportunity to learn the Tongan daily rituals.
"The value of these types of experiences is priceless," said Damian Nelson, coordinator of Catholic Missionâ€™s Exchange Program. "With a deep immersion experience into other cultures and ways of being church, the potential for these links to grow into bonds of solidarity and communion is limitless."
Port Macquarie youth experience the real Tonga (Catholic Mission 29/10/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
30 Oct 2007