On Saturday evening, the pilgrims attended a Prayer Vigil with the Holy Father at which there was Eucharistic Adoration. During the Vigil, a heavy storm occurred. As the rains and winds became stronger, so did the enthusiasm of our young people. Nothing was going to kill their joyful spirit! Fortunately, the storm lasted for a short time.
The Vigil continued with Eucharistic Adoration. I will never forget the scene. As soon as the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, there was profound silence in the midst of a crowd estimated at two million. As one pilgrim said to me, “Only Jesus could make that happen!”
The love and reverence that our young people have for the Eucharist are absolutely amazing. They firmly believe that in Christ our Lord we find our strength and peace.
The closing Mass of World Youth Day was on Sunday. Many of the pilgrims camped out overnight without any of the comforts of home and with little rest. Yet, they were so alive at Mass. They waited for this moment to be in the presence of our Holy Father for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (due to large crowds, some were not physically present but spiritually united). One pilgrim stated, “I will never forget the day that I attended Mass with the Holy Father, so many bishops, priests, religious and peers from all around the world. It was family!” How blessed we are to be Catholic and to belong to the Church that is one, holy, Catholic and apostolic!
I joined our diocesan pilgrims for our closing dinner this evening. Some of the pilgrims spoke and conveyed what these days meant to them and their spiritual lives. Their words were inspirational and moving. In summary, they said they return home a “new person” and “firm in faith.” They will arrive back home tomorrow. As they share their stories, experiences and blessings, I am confident that the Diocese of Raleigh will be greatly blessed.
Please continue to pray for our pilgrims and all our young people. They give the Church every reason to be filled with great hope!
The spirit in Madrid is one of great joy and excitement. Our youth from around the world reflect such a deep love for Our Lord Jesus, His Church and the Eucharist. Our diocesan pilgrims continue to make this a real “spiritual journey.” I am so proud of them.
A major component of World Youth Day is catechesis and the teaching of our faith. Yesterday, our diocesan pilgrims attended a session given by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York. He reminded the youth that they are “to be authentic witnesses” for Jesus and His Gospel. He told them they respond to that call by reflecting joy, charity and love for the Church and one another. The Archbishop asked them to persevere in sharing the faith and never tire of gently and sincerely inviting their peers and others to embrace it. I am convinced that our youth, strengthened by the graces of World Youth Day, will return home renewed in their commitment to be authentic witnesses. The session concluded with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at which Archbishop Dolan enthusiastically told the pilgrims that the Eucharist is always the source of our strength.
Last night, pilgrims participated in the Way of the Cross and the Holy Father presided. We remembered all our family members and friends at home who are suffering in any way and asked the Lord to bless them with his healing love. Pope Benedict asked the pilgrims to remember how much God loves them and to believe that no cross is greater than His love.
This morning (Saturday), there was a Mass for all the pilgrims from the United States. Approximately 65 U.S. Bishops were in attendance. At the end of the Mass, a young woman (representing all the pilgrims) conveyed love, support and assurance of prayers to the Bishops. You cannot underestimate how much those words deeply touched my heart and the hearts of my brother bishops. Cardinal George responded and assured the young people of how much the Bishops love them and what a source of inspiration they are for us.
Tonight is a Prayer Vigil with the Holy Father and Eucharistic Adoration. The pilgrims will spend the night in adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament and in preparation for the Closing Mass with Pope Benedict on Sunday. While the schedule is demanding, the energy level of the pilgrims appears higher than ever. The reason is clear. The pilgrims are on fire with their love for the Lord, the Holy Father and the Catholic Faith. I am confident they will bring that energy back home with them as “authentic witnesses” of Jesus and His Gospel. Please continue to pray for them and know of my prayers each day for all in the Diocese of Raleigh.
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.
I am experiencing the Church in such a visible way that I have lost count of how many times I have teared up in simple awe and wonder at the beauty of our Catholic faith. Our faith is living and so very much alive! And it is breathtakingly beautiful. There is an energy in Madrid that I have never experienced before. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics from all around the world are gathering in the beautiful city of Madrid to celebrate life and love in Christ! In the midst of war, economic turmoil, nothingness, and a secular culture that works to degrade the sacred dignity of every man and woman, we gather together to celebrate the life and hope within us that comes from Christ. We KNOW there is more. And gathering together in prayer, adoration, and song with our Pope is giving us a living experience of faith that we will never forget. My miracle of the day? Coming within 8 feet of Pope Benedict on some random side street on our way back to our hotel. My friends and I breathlessly rushed up to the front of the security rope and we reached out to him. As he drove by he smiled at us and blessed us. If it weren’t for the security forces in place, I have no doubt that we would have stampeded our dear Papa in love and admiration, so great was our joy. What a blessing and inspiration he is to us! Christ has challenged us to be a light of hope and strength to the world and to stand firm in the faith. Moments like these make me realize the deepest cry of my heart is to give every breath of my being to my Lord and my God and to pray ever more deeply for the strength to do so. We are alive in Christ and want all the world to know the source of our joy!!!
By Kathryn Diener
When the Holy Father arrived today in Madrid, all the bells in the city were ringing. What a gracious welcome!
Tonight, Pope Benedict XVI greeted all the pilgrims in multiple languages at the Opening ceremony. The Holy Father encouraged the young people to be “firm in faith” and reminded them that faith in Christ Jesus keeps us on the right path both now and for eternity.
The enthusiastic and joyful response of our youth clearly demonstrated the reason for our great hope in the future of our Church!
Bishop Michael Burbidge
Video segment from World Youth Day of three Diocese of Raleigh pilgrims with Bishop Michael F. Burbidge sharing their thoughts on events so far. The three are Nick, Margaret and seminarian Marlon Mendieta-Rojas.
Video courtesy of Fr. Philip Tighe, St. Catherine of Siena, Wake Forest, NC shot on a smartphone.
Love and Life Centre in Central Madrid will feature internationally acclaimed religious figures, speakers, and singers from around the world
Contact: Andrew Walther, Knights of Columbus, 203-752-4253
MADRID, July 28, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ — The Love and Life Centre: A Home for English-speaking Pilgrims released its schedule of events to be held during World Youth Day in Madrid. The schedule includes a variety of programs and speakers designed to appeal to pilgrims of all ages and can be accessed atwydenglishsite.org.
The site will be open Tuesday, Aug. 16, from 2 p.m. to midnight; Wednesday, Aug. 17 and Friday Aug. 19 from 9 a.m. to midnight. The site will be open Thursday, Aug. 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
In general, the site will feature catechesis in the morning, a speaking program in the afternoon, and prayer and music in the evenings.
Those speaking at the site include Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap., Archbishop-designate of Philadelphia, Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Father Antonio Lopez, F.S.C.B., Dean of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C.; Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, Superior General of the Sisters of Life; Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., CEO of Salt and Light Television in Canada; Father John Phalen, C.S.C., President of Holy Cross Family Ministries; Prof. Helen Alvaré; Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel; and many others.
Also scheduled to appear are: Hollywood actors Matt Marsden (Transformers, Black Hawk Down), and Clarence Gilyard (Walker, Texas Ranger); Curtis Martin, President of the Fellowship for Catholic University Students (FOCUS); speaker and author Chris Stefanick; renowned theology of the body speakers and authors Jason and Crystalina Evert; and Father Jose Granados, Assistant Professor of Patrology and Systematic Theology at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute.
Musical Performers will include Latin Grammy winner Alexander Acha, Eurovision winner Dana Scallon, “Best Local Band” in Washington D.C. winner (2009), Scythian; as well as Cajun performers L’Angelus, and a traditional Spanish concert performed by a group of Spanish folk musicians titled Suspiros de España.
One of the Centre’s most anticipated events will be held on Wednesday at 9 p.m. MarianFest, a celebration of the Blessed Mother, will feature award winning singers Alexander Acha and Dana Scallon; Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, Postulator for the Cause for Canonization of St. Juan Diego; as well as American recording artist Danielle Rose; Spanish recording artist Luis Alfredo Diaz; and the Mexican singing group Adoremus Knight.
The schedule is designed to allow pilgrims to attend all official World Youth Day events, including catechesis, the Opening Mass, the Welcoming of the Holy Father, the Via Crucis, and the vigil at Cuatro Vientos.
The Love and Life Centre will be located in the Palacio de Deportes, Madrid’s premier 11,000 seat concert and sports arena, conveniently located in the heart of the city.
To learn more and to see the schedules, visitwww.wydenglishsite.org.