Sunday, August 28, 2011

WYD part 5

Friday of WYD started much the same as Wednesday and Thursday with catechesis at the Love & Life Centre. As a funny reminder of what had happened with Cardinal Erdő, both Archbishop Dolan and pretty much everyone who spoke in the morning, kept repeating "Praised be Jesus Christ." To which we all would respond "Now and forever." After catechesis, I got lunch with some of the group. Food in Madrid was set up differently than in Toronto and Cologne. Rather than having food tents or trucks sponsored by WYD, we had coupons which could be used at hundreds of restaurants throughout the city. That kept the lines down (somewhat.. lol) and provided many different options. The place where we ate lunch on Friday was a little Spanish restaurant. They were taking pictures of different pilgrim groups that came through with their flags. I don't know the name of the restaurant, but somewhere on facebook, there is a picture of me as part of the group... and I'm one of the people holding the Canadian flag :-D

On the way back to the L&L Centre I did what no trip is complete without...

got a picture with a pig!

I had wanted to go to an exhibit at the L&L Centre entitled "You and Me" and finally had a chance on Friday afternoon. Sponsored by the Sisters of Life, this chronicled the stories of four people/couples faced with unplanned pregnancies and how they responded to them. It was a very interesting set up with each person being given an mp3 player with the people telling their stories as we walked through the exhibit. I was definitely fighting tears at a few points as it was moving to see pictures of the real people and listen to their voices.

Because Friday is the day commemorating Christ's passion, the Pope always leads the Stations of the Cross. A popular Catholic devotional, this is a set of 14 stations telling the story of Jesus' way from the garden of Gethsemane to His burial. At each station there is a prayer and a short reflection on that particular situation. Typically the stations are posted (for example on the walls in a church) and one walks from one to the next, but this setting was different. Towns all around Spain nominated statues to represent the different stations and they were displayed in the main square where Papa Ben had been the night before. Different groups of youth carried the WYD cross from one statue to the next as we "walked" with Jesus.

Each group was somehow connected with the station, for example after Judas Betrays Christ with a Kiss (the some of the stations were different from the traditional ones) the cross was carried by young people from areas where Christians face persecution because of their faith.

For the station, Jesus is stripped of His Garments, young people from Rwanda/Burundi carried the cross as a symbol of people who are stripped of their dignity through genocide.

After all 14 stations, Papa Ben gave a short homily on the importance of carrying our own crosses and following Christ. Although the stations took place outside, we stayed and watched them from inside the L&L Centre... I was glad not to have another long day outside in the sun.

When the stations were finished, I stayed with some of the group for Lectio Divina - a time of reading and meditating on scripture. Concluding the night was a healing Eucharistic Adoration service with procession. There's nothing like quiet time with Jesus... especially when He walks through the room.

I was a bit worried because I had wanted to stay for Adoration but knew that I needed to eat as well. Just as we were leaving, I mentioned to the girls I was with that I needed to stop somewhere and get some food on the way home. No sooner had I said that then we passed someone who offered us most of a pizza that they couldn't eat (we were still inside... this was other pilgrim not some random person on the street). Amazing how God provides!


  1. i love how the group that carries the cross ties in with the station - i didn't know that! thanks for blogging about WYD - i loved reading all your posts! hopefully i can make it to rio or the next one.

  2. A great summary. I'm Spanish. Have you learned? sorry for my English