My last post for the day (it is nice to finally have a computer to use for a bit! Typing on the iPhone is a real pain!)
So after Toulouse I left very early on the morning of the 11th to take my first of two trains. The first train was quick: Toulouse to Narbonne. Afterwards, it was Narbonne to Murcia. Total train ride time:13 hours.
I don’t have much to say yet, since I have only now had one full day here. First, it is not as common in spain as in other countries, so it seems, for the locals to know English. Secondly, Murcia is an extremely beautiful and well off area of Spain! I was not expecting to see an area that seems to be doing so well financially considering the financial mess the Spanish Government currently is in.
I arrived late last night at around 7:30pm. We met up with our group at the Church at around 9:00pm and ate dinner with them (remember, dinners are later in Europe!). Afterwards we had a short prayer service and then came back to the private school where we are staying. We are not the only group here. There are also Germans here. The Germans are a real pain. None of their chaperons are here, they are all in houses. So we have about 30 German youth who are sometimes even walking in their underwear to where they are sleeping!!! It is a little disturbing to say the least. No self-respect, nor are they respectful to others or the property we are staying on.
We woke up early this morning and then went to the Church for 8:30. We did a Via Lucis – Stations of Light. We did it half way up a mountain which has a massive Christ statue at the top. It is very impressive. Look up “Christ Statue Monteagudo” to see an image of it.
We then went back to the Church for Mass. The Ecuadorians were leading Mass. Too clappy clappy for me. I was wanting silence and did not find it. I must admit, after my last 2.5 weeks, it was actually quite a shock to my system! People were talking in the Church at all times. During Mass there was ALWAYS music and ALWAYS clapping, never silence to contemplate and reflect, which I find difficult for a variety of reasons. But we still got to receive the Blessed Sacrament, for which I am thankful!
After that we came back to the private school where we are staying and had lunch. After lunch I did some laundry and some reading. We left at 5pm to do a bit of a tour. We saw a Shrine that was absolutely stunning. Again, once I get back I will post photos so you can see them. After that shrine we went to the Catholic University in Murcia. I must admit, I was VERY impressed with the University.
The Catholic University of St Anthony was founded by a Catholic family (who has 14 kids!!) in the mid 1990s. They founded it based on the principles of Ex Cordiae Ecclesia, which is the Church’s document on what principles should govern Catholic Universities. This university lives it in an amazing way. I talked to one of those 14 kids who ended up being a member of Communion and Liberation, the movement I am apart of. He also talked to us as a whole about how what is important in a university is not so much the education as it is the formation, more specifically, the formation of faith. UCAM has as its purpose the idea that education is good and important, but faith formation is even more important. The University proposes that Jesus be the center first so that what you get specifically from that University is a strong faith which will aid you in ways no other university can.
It was a truly beautiful experience to see such a wonderful university. They have over 11,000 students attending that university, which is not bad considering it has not been open for very long.
That is it for now. I have typed over 3000 words in the past hour. Time to give these hands a rest and this body some sleep.
On Monday we head to Madrid. I will do my best to update you then.