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Last night we gathered for evening Mass at a local basilica, and Father Agostino said mass.  It was a powerful Mass as all of the guides, Steve’s family, and a few others gathered together to celebrate that wonderful Sacrament.  Father reminded us of St. Lawrence who was martyred by being burned to death.  Apparently he told those handling the fire “turn me over, I’m done on that side.”  He is the patron saint of cooks and is depicted with a grill.  Only Catholics can take such a negative and turn it into a positive like that!

After Mass we met for a brief meeting then night prayers.  In our meeting, Steve reminded us about being positive during the coming days and to encourage our group to do so.  Steve went on to say that a pilgrimage is a time when we leave the comforts of home and venture out to encounter Christ.  Most of the time this means some discomfort and maybe even some suffering.  I can hear my mom saying “offer it up” right now!  Sure, going to Spain and World Youth Day is an opportunity, but how can I do this at home on a regular basis?  For each person that would be different.  For me perhaps I can go to daily mass or go out of my way to visit family or friends I haven’t seen in awhile.  I’ll have to brainstorm on how I can venture out to encounter Christ as it’s easy to get into a mundane routine body, mind, and soul.

People in Madrid eat late, and eating usually means a social affair.  We didn’t eat until after 10 pm, and it was another trip to Montaditos for the mini-sandwiches and sangria.  For one euro, it’s a bargain and quite delicious, and the special is only on Wednesdays!

I am thoroughly enjoying my time with the other guides.  Some have groups arriving while most of us will have our groups arrive this Monday.  My groups are from the Diocese of Helena and another from the Diocese of Tacoma.  I’ll have 37 people, and they’ll have a team leader.  I’ll meet them at the airport then take them to our simple lodging Instituto de Educacion Secundaria Gomez Morenao which is just northeast of the center of Madrid. Later today I’ll take the metro to that area to explore and get the lay of the land.   For now it’s off for coffee and something light for breakfast.

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