Friday, 2 September 2011

Day Nine

We had to move a bit quicker this morning because Fr Phil was keen that we get out on time for catechesis. It was good that we did because when we turned up there were lots more people waiting to get in than yesterday. Yet, we still managed to get seats futher down than before.

Sister Bethany Madonna was still MCing and was on top form yet again. Our first speakers were none other than Jason and Crystalina Evert! It was good to hear them again and see them doing a proper talk. They certainly have a unique way of putting their message across.

We then had Archbishop Miller from Vancouver for the actual catechesis. He brought out a WYD rucksack and I thought that he was going to use things from in his bag during the talk. I was deeply disappointed, and it was good that I was writing in my book, because I easily could have slept through it!

Before Mass I went for a bit of a wander around and as I was going met these girls from the Philippines. When I said I was from the UK they bombarded me with stuff to swap. I think I did really well, especially swapping pegs for some really great stuff. They were lovely though, and I enjoyed meeting them all.

The Mass was lovely again today, and we had hundreds of priests concelebrating again. The best bit of the Mass was the end, because when Archbishop Miller went to put his mitre back on he managed to push it too far or something and it tumbled off his head. His face was a picture!!

3 of the groups stayed at the love and life centre for lunch and I had 2 very oily, but nice, tuna salady things. After lunch we headed to Retiro park where we met Alan's group and then all of us made our way to the Big Screen some of the group watched the opening Mass on.

It was a nice shady spot there and we could see thousands of youth pouring up this street to get closer to the Pope. It was amazing really. Some of the group went and danced in the street, but at that point I felt so hot I couldn't have gone out there. Instead I went and bought a badge, after checking with Alan that it didn't say anything weird. Later I went out to do the macarena, but they kept interrupting it which made me sad.

It was a lovely afternoon waiting for the Pope to arrive, I sat and chatted with Alan for a lot of it, then spoke to some El Salvadorians, and then I turned around and Brendan from Brentwood had managed to find us. It was lovely to see him out there, amongst 2 million or more people. Lizzie and Ste were there at one point as well though, I didn't really speak to them sadly.

Typically, I went to the toilet about 20 mins before the Pope was due and lo and behold, just as I was nearing the front of the queue the Pope arrived. I was so annoyed, but I don't think I missed too much.

Anyway I got back before he said anything. He was very sweet with his little 2 hand wave. He spoke some very lovely welcoming words to us: "I extend an affectionate greeting to the many English-speaking young people who have come to Madrid. May these days of prayer, friendship and celebration bring us closer to each other and to the Lord Jesus. Make trust in Christ’s word the foundation of your lives! Planted and built up in him, firm in the faith and open to the power of the Spirit, you will find your place in God’s plan and enrich the Church with your gifts. Let us pray for one another, so that we may be joyful witnesses to Christ, today and always. God bless you all!"

Some of our group then left, which was a shame because they missed the best bit. The Pope was presented with many gifts from different young people representing the different parts of the world. He was given a sombrero by one of the young people, and you could see a cheeky grin cross his face before he put the sombrero on!! He took it off very quickly, but it was a lovely moment. Then he was given a leis, which he also put on. This was swiftly removed by the officials.

By the time the welcoming ceremony was over half of the group had already made their way back to the hotel. There were about 25 of us left and John Millar was in charge of getting us back. He did a really good job because when we were separating he made us hold on to the person's rucksack in front of us. So in our crocodile we swam along with the rest. We had quite a walk to Velasquez station but it was enjoyable, and even funny at times being pulled along in the crocodile.

When we got down into the metro station, a Spanish group asked us to sing a song and when we finshed we were asked to sing again. Then once we'd started we couldn't stop ourselves, we sang together most of the way home. It was so much fun and definitely kept us sane on the metro home.

When we got back to Canillejas half of us went to Burger King and the other half went home. The only problem was they didn't have anything for veggies, so I ended up with a Whopper, without the burger, which was actually quite nice, followed by a salad, a diet coke and 2 BK shots. They were just cheesecakes. They were nice. Daniel aquired a crown whilst in there and became king for the night. He even walked back to the hotel in it! Some of us went to play in the play area in Burger King. It was really good. There was an interactive floor screen in there and it was so much fun. Michael was having a great time in there squishing the beans and other such stuff.

When I got back to the hotel I realised that I lost the bracelet I bought in Avila. I was gutted. I really loved that bracelet. So I began praying to St Anthony and St Jude, but nothing yet.

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