A week from now I will be in Madrid, Spain at the World Youth Day gathering with Catholics from all over the world. It will be a week of youth rallies, prayer, meetings, catechesis, bonding, communion and community building. The great finale of the week will be an overnight vigil followed by a sunrise mass with Pope Benedict attended by millions of people.
I am very honored and blessed to have this opportunity to represent my community in a faraway land. I am overwhelmed with what is ahead of me. This is the most dramatic pilgrimage I have ever taken. Besides taking a few pilgrimages here and there to grottoes, shrines, and churches in the USA, I have never before traveled so far to deepen my faith and my relationship with God and the Church.
I am not really sure how to get ready. I am reading about Madrid and Spain and reviewing my basic Spanish skills. I am making a packing list and running errands. I have gathered up some cool and comfortable clothing, a digital camera, and fresh journal. I am trusting that God is guiding me through all this.
And, I am praying. I am praying for an open heart and mind so I may grow. I am praying that I warmly love all that I encounter so that my efforts at vocation outreach shall be fruitful. I pray that the experience shall enlighten the hearts of young people from around the world so that they may grow in love with God and God’s people and be willing to devote themselves to building the reign of God.
I ask for your prayers for all the pilgrims, for the Catholic Church, for Christians everywhere and for young people who are searching no matter what they believe. Thank you!
p.s. I’ll do my best to send an update from Spain!