In just a few hours the Raleigh pilgrims will begin to make their way from the heart of Madrid to the Cuatro Vientos airfield. We will join Pope Benedict XVI in a holy hour this evening and Mass tomorrow morning. These events will be broadcast live and you can access these streams from the WYD 2011 Live Streaming link above.
You can also follow us on twitter @oymraldioc or by searching the hashtag #wydnc. We will be tweeting from the field as we will not have internet to update the virtual pilgrimage site.
Look for us in the crowd! We are wearing Tarheel blue shirts and we will be waving North Carolina flags!
The prayer vigil will be broadcast at 2:00pm eastern time and the Mass will be broadcast (bright and early!) Sunday morning at 4:00am eastern time.
Our pilgrimage began with a journey to Lourdes. The pilgrims and I were deeply moved with the faith that was so evident in this sacred place. I had the unique privilege of celebrating Mass with a brother bishop at the grotto at which our Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Bernadette. Our pilgrims and thousands of others from around the world were present. Later that day we celebrated Mass for the Vigil of the Assumption and then participated in a candle light procession. The sight of so many people demonstrating a deep devotion to our Blessed Mother is an experience I will always remember. In addition, seeing the number of seriously ill people at Lourdes touched my heart. Dedicated volunteers brought them to the liturgical services and to the holy water at Lourdes. I am confident that miracles took place right before us as the Lord touched those in need with His healing love and gave them strength, grace and perseverance. It is a reminder of the call we all have to lead others, especially those in need, to Jesus!
We also made a trip to Avila and learned about Saint Theresa, a Doctor of the Church. Her writings, the example of her life and her great commitment to prayer greatly assist us in our call to holiness.
We have been in Madrid since Monday evening. The opening Mass for the pilgrims was on Tuesday evening and it was a joyful and beautiful celebration. Today, we had a diocesan Mass at Saint Michael Basilica followed by a catechesis session. Later in the day, there was a vocation fair that included testimonies, concerts, talks and a Holy Hour. All the pilgrims were reminded that an essential step in discerning one’s vocation is to be still and quiet with the Lord, for he truly speaks to our heart!
There is much excitement in the air as we await the arrival tomorrow of Pope Benedict XVI. One young man said to me, “I am so blessed to be a Catholic and to know how much the Holy Father loves his young people. “ I am sure that all the pilgrims gathered in Madrid will soon echo those same words.
May God bless and protect Pope Benedict XVI and all the pilgrims who have gathered to be with him.
This evening there was some excitement in Madrid as groups of protestors took to the streets protesting the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI. This protest started as most of the nearly 700,000 pilgrims were around the city eating dinner. The Madrid police force was able to quickly separate the protestors from the pilgrims and in the preliminary reports no major incidents were noted. All of our pilgrims from Raleigh are safe and sound.
There is still a strong atmosphere of good will in Madrid and our pilgrims are enjoying the events, the religious experiences, exploring the city and meeting new friends from around the world. Please continue your prayers that the presence of the pilgrims will change the city with our witness of faith and love. All the pilgrims continue to lift up the intentions of the Diocese of Raleigh as we joyfully await the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI tomorrow afternoon! You will be able to watch this event live at 6:30am eastern time by clicking on the live streaming link above.
Lourdes deeply moved me. It’s been 3 days since our visit there and my heart, soul, and mind are still processing it. I will be the first to admit that I tend to like the clear cut teachings of the church and keep a certain distance between my faith and anything that might be “unproven” in the eyes of the Church. But Lourdes is different. For one, the Church has declared it to be true. The Blessed Mother truly did visit St. Bernadette 18 times between Feb. 11, 1858 and July 16, 1858. And the Church in her wisdom tells us that we are allowed to disagree with this statement. It is not a necessary tenet of our faith as other doctrines are. And as St. Bernadette stated: “My job is just to give you the message. It’s up to you whether you believe in it or not.”
The first words Mary spoke to St. Bernadette were: “Would you be so kind as to come here?” And the messages that continued were all a calling into a deeper relationship with Christ and a call to pray. It was and is a call to Love and a pointing towards Christ. This is the message of Lourdes. Within several hours of arriving in Lourdes, my thoughts of it were that it was almost as I imagined Heaven would look like– except that of course all the sick would be perfectly healed! There is such a peace and beauty to the place. For one, Lourdes is nestled in the Pyrenees Mountains- one of the most exquisite mountain ranges I have seen. Then there is the river cutting through the town, and the picturesque bridges arching across the waterways. And there are so many beautiful Churches! But, its the people and the spirit that most speak to the place. I can’t begin to describe what its like to see hundreds of people sick and dying being wheeled around in carts. And they have all made this pilgrimage to seek healing– be it physical and/or spiritual. They come in faith. They come to the waters. They heed Mary’s request that she made to Bernadette. “Won’t you come to the waters?” But, the truth is that we are all in wheelchairs, whether they are visible or not. We are all sinners. We are all seeking a peace and comfort that the world cannot offer. We come in faith– trusting that Mary will cover us with her mantle, dry our tears, and gently point us to Christ– who provides a peace and security that this world will never offer. And I guess in the one precious day that I spent in Lourdes, I truly understood what it means to go on pilgrimage– to come to a place where the soul can rest in Christ… and know that while the body will pass away, our souls will live forever… and the peace that we are experiencing in Lourdes is only a tiny glimmer of the peace that will captivate our whole beings in Heaven. And I realized that the millions of prayers that are offered up for ourselves and others in this place help sustain the world. No wonder God chooses to consecrate sacred places as a respite and sanctuary in the world! The human person longs to make the physical act of travelling to a place, leaving one’s troubles behind, bathing in healing waters, lighting candles that are symbols of one’s prayers lifting up to heaven, and to join with the thousands of others in faith, prayer, and supplication to our very Maker and Creator. I am at a loss for words to describe the peace in my soul from experiencing one day in Lourdes. Have my prayers for healing been answered for myself and loved ones? I don’t know. They very well might be. But, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my heart grew in love for my Lord and Savior and a new peace entered my soul. I was able, even if for a moment, to surrender and abandon my life and heart to God. And I want to go back. And I understand how whether one is living or dying, coming to the waters is a good thing. As St. Bernadette said: “The Grotto was my heaven”… her heaven on Earth.
– Kathryn Diener
Our pilgrims are now at the opening mass!
You can watch the mass live HERE
On Saturday August 20, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI will consecrate the pilgrims of World Youth Day to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. With this act it is intended to accomplish the aim of every World Youth Day: that young people be brought closer to Christ. As we prepare for this consecration through catechesis, prayer, and pilgrimage we ask that you pray this novena with us for a continued outpouring of grace upon the Diocese of Raleigh. We will begin praying the novena below on August 11, 2011 and end on August 19, 2011, the day of the consecration.
Thank you in advance for your continued prayers for our group!
Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Download a copy of the prayer here: http://www.xt3.com/library/view.php?id=493&categoryId=42
1) O my Jesus, you have said:
“Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.”
Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of…… (here name your request)
Our Father….Hail Mary….Glory be to the Father….
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
2) O my Jesus, you have said:
“Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.”
Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of…….(here name your request)
Our Father…Hail Mary….Glory be To the Father….
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
3) O my Jesus, you have said:
“Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away.”
Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of…..(here name your request)
Our Father….Hail Mary….Glory be to the Father…
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy; hail, our life, our sweetness & our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning & weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; & after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
V./ Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
R./ That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.
Locate cultural activities, catechesis, and restaurants nearest you
Madrid, August 4, 2011.- Over the course of the next several days, the famous saying “All roads lead to Rome” could be replaced by “All roads lead to Madrid”, as it will be the city hosting World Youth Day this upcoming August 16 to 21.
In order for all young pilgrims from every corner of the planet to get the most out of this World Youth Day, a map has been designed that marks the locations that will host cultural activities and catechesis sessions. This map will also help young people locate the nearest restaurant where those with WYD registration covering meals can use their meal tickets.
There will also be a language option to help them find the catechesis and cultural activities being held in their own language.
More information, such as the locations of various information points and where the main events with the Pope are being held, will soon be available.
The interactive map is available HERE
Special contest launched for pilgrims and would-be pilgrims…
Five lucky young people could win a chance to be part of the group of pilgrims who walk with the Holy Father through Madrid’s Puerta de Alcalá during the official welcome ceremony on Thursday August 18. Puerta de Alcalá is an 18th centry gate that used to be one of the main access points to the city. It is today one of the symbols of Madrid and it is where the Holy Father will be officially received and welcomed to the city.
Another 50 young pilgrims could win VIP seats on the altar at the Vigil at Cuatro Vientos on Saturday August 20.
Even those young people who can’t make it to Madrid have a chance to participate in this contest. Ten youth from around the world will win an official WYD 2011 Madrid Pilgrim Backpack and other items from official WYD store.
To participate youth must fill in the on-line application form on the official WYD Facebook page and then try to accumulate the most points possible. Points can be accumulated by connecting one’s twitter profile to the official WYD twitter profile, or by “liking” the WYD app on the Facebook page.
“That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which appears to our eyes to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtingly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same.”~ St. Ignatius of Loyola
St. Ignatius of Loyola is the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and author of the “Spiritual Exercises“. He was born in Spain to a noble family, and was raised and trained to be a Knight. After being seriously wounded in battle, he experienced a conversion during his convalescence. Ignatius was inspired to forego his military career and devote himself entirely to God. Not long after the Virgin Mary and Infant Jesus appeared to him. He began fervently praying, around 7 hours everyday, and often in a nearby cave. It was during this time that Ignatius began to write the “Spiritual Exercises”, which continue to guide and lead people in prayer even six centuries later. Ignatius later went on to receive an education in theology, but it is his spirituality that he is known for and is the reason he continues to inspire and lead people closer to Christ. Ignatius was faithfully obedient to the authority of the Church and spoke often of the respect and obedience she deserved. May we experience that same fervor and devotion that Ignatius possessed for Christ and His Church.