So Far So Good

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


Time Travel (part 1)

First off, I´d like to apologize for being so late in my blogs. Namely, while in France we had no source of internet, therefore, no blogs. Also, since we arrived in Madrid, its been constant motion.  I figured, in order for these blogs to remain some what ¨short,¨ but still interesting I´ll just have mini-posts here. OH, and we took A TON of pictures so I´ll try to post some of those as well…but not all.

August 13, 2011 (written on iPod)

Oh, where to begin?? Today was just about the longest day I´ve ever spent. Now I understand why man hasn´t created time travel; because nature creates time travel on its own when traveling. Haha, can you believe that I´m 6 hours ahead of y´all?   Ok, so you can tell that the jet lag has already hit me, but that is ok. I know that I will eventually get used to the time change before the next time my ¨Time Machine¨ is scheduled to go back into the past!…sigh…that´ll be fun. 🙂

So I believe that the majority of my sanity has left me, however I do believe that I have about an oz. left in me. Otherwise, I probably wouldn´t be here now. No, correction, it is by the grace of God that I´m where I am now. Which by the way is in London, on a British Airways plane, riding atop the taxi run. I don´t know when I will be able to post this, but I´ve decided to write whatever I can on my iPod while it is  all fresh in my mind.

The beginning of my adventure started at 7:00 am (after getting only 4 hours of sleep) not feeling completely refreshed, but very excited. After finishing some last-minute packing, and enjoying a nice warm shower, my mom, sister (Mary Kate, Travis, and I set out around 12:00 am for the 2 hour drive to Raleigh Durham. Upon our arrival, we exchanged dollars for euros, and got checked in. Leaving us A LOT of time to get to know our fellow pilgrims. Oh, and as we were talking Travis and I were approached by a man and his really big camera. Can you guess what he asked? ¨Can I get an interview from you two for the Raleigh website?¨ At fist I was really surprised (and willing) but after watching Travis’ interview I decided that maybe an interview would not be such a good idea. However, it was too late. Travis was finished and I was being pushed in the camera´s direction. I think It went fairly well, despite the fact that my hands were shaking as i held the microphone. Oh well I guess I´ll have to watch it, in order to know how well it REALLY went.

After we went through security everything moved along perfectly according to the plan. It was really nice getting to know all my fellow pilgrims, they are all so kind and friendly. One of the girls (Jordan) is a really sweet person, and I´m so glad that I made Travis switch with her, so that she could sit with me! We probably had too much fun during those (very quick) seven hours. There was a movie playing called ¨Win Win¨ but after ten minutes it got really boring. So Jordan and I just talked and watch what movies we had on our iPods. By the time we decided we should attempt to get some sleep, we turned off our electronics as well as our mouths, and tried for over 30 minutes to get some sleep.  Sleep would not come. Instead, we just stayed up wishing for sleep and talking about anything that popped into our heads, until our dinner came (which wasn´t bad) but the cookies she brought were delish! Even Fr. Mears thought they were really good, of course we made him eat them since he was sitting right in front of us, and would never hear the end of it if he didn´t eat one.

When we finally landed in London we had to go through security all over again, and I almost lost my boarding pass not once, but twice (it was a very hectic time) but don´t worry I made it on the plane. So I obviously didn´t COMPLETELY loose it. To make a long 7 wait weight (in an airport) a short story, most of us just past the time by sleeping on the floors, window shopping, playing games, admiring all the british accents, laughing at all the strange fashion statements, eating, and pretty much chill until it was time to bord our last flight.

I really can´t tell you much about the flight on British Airways (except the flight attendants have really cute accents) because I fell asleep right after we took off, and didn´t wake up until after the 10 minute landing announcements were made. Oh and that if you sit in the very last bench in the back of the plane, you will really experience some really CrAzY turbulence, when landing.

After landing in France everything moved along smoother than a china doll´s silks. All we had to do was get our luggage, passports stamped, and sit ourselves on the bus. There was a lot of sleeping, singing, laughing, and games on that 2 hour road trip. We arrived in Lourdes around 8:00 pm that evening. The country there is absolutely breathtaking!! The air is not only cool, but sweet!! If I was given the chance to go there again, I TAKE IT in less than a heart beat!!! After we pulled up to our hotel, and lugged all our luggage off the bus and into the lobby, we were told to leave our suitcases in the lobby, in order for us to eat our dinner. This, however, didn´t quite sit well with everyone. This reaction from all of us pilgrims (I believe might have caused a great offense to the owner) forcing her to drop her dancing french tongue, in order to address us on the matter. She was dressed very stylishly, and had the thickest accent I have ever heard!! At first I thought she sounded angry, but as she continued to explain how safe the hotel environment was, she really began to sound cute in a very very funny way. Thus, off we went to enjoy our very first 3 course meal of tomato and mozzarella cheese with salt and pepper, a crispy chicken, fresh green beans, and a grilled tomato (and FRENCH FRIES) topped with this really good sauce, and a dessert course of fresh lemon pie! To top things off, we were able to share this meal with Bishop Burbidge! The meal was very relaxing. All we had to do was sit down, and wait to be handed our already planed, delicious meal! I felt like royalty. Then after dinner we received our keys from the lovely french owner, and found our very very soft pillows.

To Be Continued…

That will conclude this blog on ¨Time Travel,¨ but If you´d like to read my next blog, ¨Heaven in Lourdes¨ then I strongly recommend you stay in tune. I was planning on finishing all the blogs from the beginning to the present tonight, but alas, it is already 2:20 am and I need my pilgrim sleep. 😀 Don´t worry, I will do my best to log on as often as I can so y´all can get to the REAL stuff!!


So Close!

Just an hour or so before we leave for the airport, and I’m getting excited! I don’t quite know what to expect, but God will have something amazing planned. I’m looking forward to seeing so many other people (especially kids my age) who share in the Catholic faith. It’ll be cool to pray with so many others in solidarity! I’m also super glad my roommates are nice and can’t wait to hang out with them!

More later when we get there:) God bless!


Lauren G

Final days of Packing and Prepping!

Well here goes!  My first attempt at blogging. I can’t promise you it will be entertaining or funny but rather a first hand recap of my experiences on this trip of a life-time to Madrid, Spain for World Youth Day.  Just 3 days to go and I am already feeling tired from the mental preparation for the trip, the planning, pre-packing, packing, unpacking, repacking.  So many decisions to make!  Should I wear skirts, shorts (over the knee), pants, long shorts or short pants? Which shoes? Let me tell you, this has been the topic of discussion amongst our little group from St. Thomas More for at least 6 months!  We will be doing a lot of walking and have been warned (rather strongly encouraged) to bring very comfortable shoes.  So, take a break cute sandals and bring out the tennis shoes and Clark sandals with air vents and lots of cushion.  My feet will thank me later.

As with the other chaperones on the trip, many of us are leaving behind some part of our family, whether it be a spouse, as in my case, or 4 children and a husband, as in Georgie’s case.  There are bills to pay ahead of time, laundry to do (so we have clothes to pack), frigs to clean out, desks to clean off, school supplies to get (school starts just 3 days after we get back!), sports practices to get to, pets to arrange boarding,…you get the picture.

Regardless of all the preparation and planning to get to this point that we plotted and planned a year and a half go, I am truly looking forward to this journey and pilgrimage.  A friend of mine at work said that maybe it will light a fire in my faith.  Though I feel I already have a strong faith, I think we all get to a point in our lives where we need that extra “umph”.   We sometimes need to step away from the everyday normal  to see the big picture, to see if we are on the right path and to gain some focus.  I don’t know what to expect and have no real expectations other than to be tired, somewhat overwhelmed, completely open to experience new things, HOT, and somehow knowing I will be changed from this trip.

I take this trip with my daughter, Emma (who is also blogging at, 3 other lady friends and 7 other kids from St. Thomas More along with a great group of  pilgrims from the Diocese of Raleigh.  Please keep us all in your prayers as we make this journey as we will keep you in ours especially during our visit to Lourdes, France.



With 5 More Days Left,

XXVI World Youth Day

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve finally started packing. My suitcase is filled and the rest of my essentials are scattered everywhere around my room. A challenge that I’ll be facing starting tomorrow is my family. My mom and I are going on World Youth Day, but my dad is not. So not only will we not be seeing him for those ten days, we wont see him starting tomorrow because he’s leaving on a business trip, and gets back about an hour after we leave. He leaves a few days before we get back, and is gone for another week. So all in all? 3 weeks without my family being together. Hopefully we’ll be able to stay in touch through this journey to Christ.