Yesterday we were walking to dinner in a common plaza when we found ourselves turning around and retreating from a huge anti-pope mob. We know (and the Pope certainly knows) that there are people who are against the Catholic church, our Pope, and how it effects the economy. Being told to stay in our hotel for the rest of the night and hearing police planes above us, we were nervous of what could happen, but we knew that God was there for us and my roommates and two other girls prayed and just talked until about 2 in the morning. In the morning we got up and went to breakfast with everyone (as opposed to whoever gets up) and the Bishop. My church decided to go to a talk on The Theology of the Body which required taking a metro and walking a ton. The highlight of that event (other than the information) was the fact that I bumped into one of of the staff members from a mission trip several of us went to a month ago! We finally got back to the hotel and relaxed for about ten minutes, then we went to save a seat for us to see the POPE. We all cheered for the Pope as we saw him driving down the road to where we were, shouting ¨VIVA EL PAPA! VIVA! VIVA!¨ He spoke beautiful words in every language he knew to be attending, and I shared a radio with a friend to listen to the English translation. All I can say is, it was impossible to comprehend. In the midst of all the madness that happened yesterday, we managed to have such a blessing today. It was a life changing experience to see our own Pope, to shout ¨Benedicto!¨ repeatedly, and just put myself in Gods grace. It was a great day.
Hey all! I have not been able to post for a little while, we have been super busy!
Lourdes was beautiful, we got to see the stations of the cross in life size and it was amazing. It is so important to remember all the time the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Mass in the grotto was cool too; it was in many languages but it was still very clearly mass.
Madrid has been crowded and crazy, but moving. It’s awesome to be totally focused on God for this time, and with other people too! The other groups are fun to see. If we spot them we all ask where they’re from and take pictures with them. The WYD opening mass was a little hectic but we’re all doing great. What was worse were the Anti-Pope protesters. However, we are all safe and the police in Madrid are on it! We’ve been reminded that Jesus was persecuted too.
Today we’re going to a talk with Jason Evert (a chastity speaker) and then to welcome the Pope to Madrid! We were also reminded to pray lots and have prayer buddies to pray for each other.
That’s all for now, we’ve gotta get to some talks! God bless you!
Lauren G, 15
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.
Our pilgrims are now at the opening mass!
You can watch the mass live HERE
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
If you are familiar with World Youth Day, you know that part of this experience is the walking pilgrimage. On the Saturday of World Youth Day the pilgrims venture out of the city and process to the location of the closing mass with the Pope. The link above and the video below will let you know a little more about the pilgrimage route our pilgrims will be traveling on while in Madrid.
Here are some of the sites that our pilgrims will see within a couple of blocks of our hotel. This slideshow will be updated when we arrive in Madrid and have a chance to take some more pictures.
Vodpod videos no longer available.