Trust in divine Providence. I say that because today was a perfect example of the Holy Spirit guiding our day. Let me explain.
Our day began with a few delays and a little rain storm. Not a big deal, but when we made it to the English center at Palancio de los Deportes, it was packed to capacity for the English Mass. We were stuck outside, unable to get in and attend Mass. That was a huge disappointment for our group, but as things would go, EWTN was filming little groups outside of the doors. To the delight of the teens in our groups, EWTN filmed them doing their different chants — all thanks to Life on the Rock’s awesome producer! (Thanks Jill!)
When we were unable to get in there, we figured the best thing would be to stake out ground at the Plaza de Cibeles for the papal welcome. Yes, it was a ridiculous amount of time to wait for something, but it was worth every minute of it!
We were able to get a pretty good spot, with a decent view of the stage and a nearby screen, all because we couldn’t get in at the Love and Life Center.
For the next six hours, we waited and waited and waited, but it was the most joyous wait one could ever imagine! Some of us scouted out the nearest McDonalds and got lunch. (Yes, we go to Spain and eat McDonalds. But you are just thankful for any meal in the midst of that kind of a crowd!)
Back at our spots, we played games and chatted with groups around us. What a joy when someone actually speaks English! It is now a priority of mine to learn Spanish. I got to chat with a wonderful group from Guatemala. They have such a wonderful outlook on life. My new friend Walter shared with me his journey to Madrid and his background. He is here with a group of 43 people. Guatemala sent their largest delegation ever: 1,000 pilgrims. He is with a group called EPJ Guatemala, founded in the ’70s by Padre Pujadas in Columbia. The mission of the movement is to evangelize young adults.
He said he was so happy to live in Guatemala, even though the standard of living is so much lower than many other places, including the U.S. and Spain, because there the people still have faith. The two things he loves about Guatemala: the culture of the people and the value system.
I think this is one of the most important aspects of World Youth Day. All of the cultures come together as one faith and share traditions. We have much to learn from other countries.
Then there were the fun-loving Germans. When I ask them why they came to WYD, they said: “For the party!” They went on to explain that what truly brought them to Madrid was the fact that WYD unites everyone in faith. They wanted their group to discover that faith is not boring.
Finally came what everyone was waiting for: Pope Benedict arrived to shouts and laughter, cheers and tears of joy. Here we all were, the young men and women of the world, all united by faith, welcoming the Holy Father — the man who represents Christ here on earth, the symbol of unity we all look to. He’s our Papa!
One cannot describe how touching it is to be in the midst of the Holy Father. Viva el Papa! We love you! And we can’t wait to experience the next few days in Madrid with you leading us!
Rachel Howell, the Register’s customer-and-administrative-support representative,
is blogging about the faith-filled events of World Youth Day 2011 from Madrid.
She is traveling with a group of first-time pilgrims from her parish in Alabama.
Read about Rachel’s other WYD adventures:
Praying for World Youth Day
4 Reasons to Go to World Youth Day
Madrid, Here We Are!
Opening Mass Welcomes Pilgrims to WYD
Day 3 in Madrid: A Trip to Confession Park, Vocational Booths and ‘Life on the Rock’