Friday at World Youth Day, 19 Aug

It’s hard to believe that it’s Friday of World Youth Day!  I’ve met people from all over the world which proves the universality of the Catholic Church!  People from Tanzania, Nigeria, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and many more.  What a great time for the world to come together!  It’s powerful to see people trading trinkets and what not as well as talking or playing advanced games of charades.  The metro is usually pulsing with people and song, and the hot spots are truly happening with various activities from talks to concerts to processions.  Yesterday the Pope arrived in the Madrid center, and it was truly electric.  Tomorrow will find pilgrims walking enroute Cuatro Vientos which is southwest of Madrid center. There we’ll set up camp for the evening of prayer, song, and much more.  Sunday morning will be the ending Mass at 0900, so it’ll be a long day and night tomorrow.

One of the difficult things is to see kids who are handicapped getting around the city.  One Frenchman was pushing his son in a wheelchair, and they had been all over the town!  Another kid has trouble walking, but he was just as involved as the rest of his group.  Both kids made me realize how fortunate I am so cried for a moment for their pain and just leaned into things.

My mom used to say “offer it up” when something would go on in life that would cause discomfort.  The hard floor where we sleep with 60 other guys and the arctic showers were two areas where I could “offer it up.”  So I did!  Normally, I moan and groan when I’m discomforted, but I decided to offer up these two situations for a friend who’s mother is ill with cancer.  Amazingly enough I slept so hard last night (no pun intended), and the water wasn’t as cold this morning!  Wow!  Two years ago, Sal (my brother and I) hiked the Camino de Santiago and experienced something similar.  Again, I remember that I had offered up any discomforts along the way and simple leaned into things.  This pilgrimage has been a great opportunity to offer these things up!  Plus, I have had minimal internet access and no cell phone.  I haven’t died yet either, and I’ve learned so much during my trip!  I’ve been less “connected” with internet and phone but more “connected” with faith because of it.  Sometimes less IS more!

I have worn several Catholic tee shirts during the World Youth Day festivities, and I’ve received several comments.  The KnoW MARY KnoW JESUS shirt caused some questions, but all finally got it.  The shirts that say CATHOLIC are simple and to the point, and they have been quite popular, too.  The BE A REBEL shirts have been a huge hit, too!  The best thing is seeing kids wearing the shirts!  It’s a great way to evangelize!