World youth day in Madrid, Spain
The theme for this World Youth Day cannot be more expressive : “Planted & Build up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the faith”
We had a pleasant experience in Madrid, Spain. From Ninoy Aquino International Airport we expected a long journey with exhilaration going to Madrid, Spain. We had our stop in Thailand & explored the view for some time. However, after 14 hours of travel , we finally reached our destination. We rode on a bus going to Maria Reina, the place where we stayed. A lot of Spanish Salesian Sisters welcomed us with hospitality. Having our social companionship , we also had our socialization mutually with the other countries gathered in Maria Reina. We got on track with our journey in going to Plaza de Espanya. We met millions of people all around the world who gathered as one to experience the World Youth Day 2011. Likewise, we encountered many young people from diverse continents with their different faces, languages, cultures and nationalities ; Italians, French ,Germans, Romanians, England, Koreans, Vietnamese, Argentinians, Spaniards, Scottish, Canadians, Russians, Poland, Finland, Australians, Portuguese, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Venezuela, Columbia, New Zealand and many more and greeted them “Hola!!!” Which means “Hello! In Spanish”
Moreover , the next day we had our Catechesis & we were surprised seeing young men from Scotland wearing skirts. Carl went with Sr. Ravens to attend the Youth Forum & in the afternoon we began our cultural night. We danced “Kapa Malung-Malung”. Many people were watching us. The six of us held the spotlight on stage. After the numerous souvenirs with youth from other countries that led us to treasure them. Some of them requested for our signatures in their flags. We are laughing because the live camera always focused on our faces & many people would see it because it was posted on a big screen. We are waving our hands & kept on smiling. After the party we meditated with extravagant orchestra & choir that were totally awesome. We sighted many helicopters flying above us to telecast the happenings in the World Youth Day. We were also inspired by the message of Rector Major & St. Yvon.
After a wonderful party, we had our American Catechesis the next day. We had a mass at 9:40AM at “San Ricardo”. Before the mass started we has our confession. Priest from other countries helped us. Catechesis started with the same sharing of life experiences of the youth from other countries.
On the other hand , subsequently we also went to Plaza de Cibeles to have our “Via Crisis” or “The way of the cross”. Christ accompanied us in the same steps where he walked until arriving at the Mount Calvary to be crucified. Before the Via Crisis started, Pope Benedict XVI got ahead to bless us. Many people were yelling & cheering “Benedicto! Benedicto! Estate es LA juvintud Del Papa!(2x). It was our first encounter with Pope Benedict the XVI in a magnificent & spectacular way. We saw Santo Papa giving us his blessings with purity. Everybody was blessed as we saw the Pope in person.
On our last journey the adventures we experienced were complexed. On the itinerary, we needed to walk everyday for hours under the scotching heat of the sun moving from one place to the other, however , we were very happy because we did it in the Glory of God. Countless Spaniards were throwing us water in order to lessen the heat of our body because of the sun. After a long journey; at last the most awaited moment came , we saw Pope Benedict XVI. Our exhausted bodies were worth it because the Pope was sending inspirational messages for the young people. In “Quatro Ventos” we had our over night there. It was summer in Madrid, Spain that’s why it was so hot! Sizzling Hot! We walked thousands of miles away just to reach it. Many people were saying “How I wish it would rain”. In the middle of the night we encountered sand storm. The Pope told us “You asked for water God gave you rain. ”
After the World Youth Day we went to Salamanca (Golden town of Spain), Avilla (Medieval City Walls, Romanesque & Gothic, Fatima (Portugal), Convento de Santa Teresa, Basilica de SanVicente, and many more world heritage , cathedrals and museum of saints. We had a great time experiencing World Youth Day & Cultural tour in Spain. My faith in God grew stronger. We learned to strengthen our devotion to Him & learned to trust more deeply. The World Youth Day helped us explore note the goodness of God. It was a memorable one to treasure in our hearts through the grace of God.