Esta es la juventud la Papa!
This is what is being chanted all around Madrid!
We prepare today to walk many kms with our sleeping bags and ground mats and to sleep tonight under the stars in order to share mass with Pope Benedict XVI and representatives from all over the world. We are staying in a university about half an hour from Madrid near a station called Moncloa. We have been so blessed with our accommodation which amongst other luxuries has a pool and a much needed air conditioning especially after a long day in the heat of the Madrid Summer. Praise God!
Some of the highlights of the World Youth Day week in Madrid have included seeing our very own Broken Bay pilgrims from Pittwater parish perform in the Park of Retiro. They made us so proud as they lead approx 300 people in praise and worship. They have also asked to play at the vigil mass and we can’t wait to see them perform again!
Catechesis has also been a real highlight in Madrid, there is a stadium which has been named the Life and Love Centre for World Youth Day and it is the home for English speaking pilgrims so we have usually travelled to the metro station Goya to get to the Love and Life Centre and we are joined there with Americans, Irish, English, Canadians and more to hear some of the best Catechesis from Bishops all over the world.
We felt proud to see Cardinal Pell lead the catechesis early on in the week and he emphasised that our faith is reasonable and rationale, he finished to a standing ovation and then celebrated the mass for us and gave a brilliant homily. Yesterday we heard from Archbishop Timothy Dolan from New York City and he was very entertaining as well as encouraging. He told us to be a witness in the world and highlighted four main ways to do this, through Charity, Joy, Hope and Love for the Church.
On Thursday we decided to journey to a Church in Madrid for a bit of variety instead of going to the Love and Life Centre for catechesis and we were turned away because the Church was overflowing with pilgrims and was too hot inside for anyone else. So instead of being disheartened Adrian Gomez, and Fr Jim led us to a nearby park and we had our own catechesis, it was totally unplanned but so amazing. It was a real act of the Holy Spirit as Bishop David gave a teaching off the cuff about how we are called to be mature in our faith and know our faith. We sang songs and a stranger handed Adrian a guitar. The crowd in the park started to grow. The organisers of the catechesis that was full started sending pilgrims to the park because word got out that an “Aussie group” was leading their own catechesis, in the end we had an American seminarian talk to us, Bishop David addressed the crowd and a Monsignor with an English accent who was living in Germany spoke to us and shared his thoughts about World Youth Day and how inspiring it is for both him and all the Bishops and Priests to see the future. Youth Minister Laura Bradley also gave a testimony about an answer she had to prayer on her travels to Mexico. We then sang this little light of mine and we realised people from South Africa, Indonesia, USA, Ireland, and more had all gathered to listen to a on the spot catechesis run by the Broken Bay Diocese.
It has been a great and spiritual week!
Blessed be the name of Jesus...Now and Forever!