The World Youth Day (WYD) Way of St James and Madrid 2011
I often felt during this pilgrimage that after 3 World Youth Days this was not my story to pass on anymore. Then it hit me, of course this is not “my” story;
this is “our” story, our Universal Church’s story and God’s story.
In many ways this journey to Spain taken by 15 pilgrims from around the diocese was an epic journey. We crossed beaches, sun-baked plains and mountains on the ancient
pilgrimage route of Saint James. We spent four days immersed in Spanish culture in Lugo, with its practically intact roman wall circling the city. A wall so impressive,
one got lost in the contact with history. We then, of course, traveled the final leg of our journey to Madrid.
The climax of the pilgrimage would have to be the WYD Vigil and Mass with the Pope. An experience so powerful, words do not do it justice. Imagine every pilgrim from
every land coming together in a sandy, desolate desert with blazing sun and temperatures over 100ºF.
Our youngest pilgrim of 12 years old said it well, “2 million people in a large hot field together to celebrate their faith, 2 million people stay and
prove that they didn't just come to say that they came but to prove their love for God, 2 million people stayed through the hot, oh yes, but... 2 million people also
stayed through a thunder and lightning storm that tried to stop them. All of those people stayed and sang and smiled and even if they were a bit worried, believed in
God and shared their faith with everyone! An experience like that, with so many people, is hard to understand when you didn't see it, but although that may be true,
if you have faith then you don't need to see it.”
With this testimony and the WYD theme, “planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith,” what more needs to be said. Maybe just this, I don’t know if I am
called to lead the next WYD, but either way, I hope to see many of you in Rio in two years!
May God bless you,