Going to World Youth Day in Madrid!

I’m at the airport in Orlando heading to Madrid via Washington Dulles.  I’m excited to be working with Youth In Europe as a tour guide for 30+ young adults as we experience World Youth Day in Madrid.  It’ll be a wonderful experience on many fronts!  Dominic Buckley, a seminarian from the Diocese of Orlando, reminded me in the Florida Catholic that “we are not going on a tourist trip…we’re going on a pilgrimage to be changed by the living God!”  Wow, powerful words!  I can’t wait!  When you can, check out World Youth Day Madrid online to see all of the happenings over the next few weeks.

Enroute the airport, my mom and I stopped for coffee.  I was wearing the BE A REBEL…BECOME CATHOLIC!  tee shirt.  The barista asked “what’s with the shirt?”  So I suggested to him that being a Catholic was counter-cultural in today’s world.  He said “I have some thoughts on that!”  So I pressed him to share, and he mentioned the sex abuse scandal with the priests.  Of course I reminded him that nobody in the Church condones that and change has been underway for years to correct it.  Also, no church is exempt. He nodded in agreement, and I moved on with my coffee.  It’s a reminder that the Church in specific (and Christianity in general) is under fire and doubt from all angles…even baristas.

My flight will take me through the night to land in Madrid tomorrow morning.  I’ll be meeting with the other Youth In Europe guides (about 50+), and we’ll be exploring Madrid over the next week.  Each guide will have a group of about 40 young adults (20ish to 40ish).  My job, as per Steve Kerekes the CEO of YIE, is to “smile, get folks from A to B, and be Catholic!”  Sounds fun!  I’ll know more about the specifics of my job once I arrive tomorrow.  The first week will be preparing for the groups to arrive, and the second week will be enjoying the World Youth Day festivities.  The third week will find me taking a week to visit with friends in the Sevilla area prior to my eventual return home.  All in all, it’ll be a great time to refresh body, mind, and soul.

Many of you have sent encouraging words and prayers with me and for me.  Pray that I be open to the Holy Spirit’s call to draw closer to Him!