World Youth Day!

Hi everyone.  I am sorry it has taken so long to get a blog post out.  There has not been much access to wifi since Murcia and am currently in Barcelona.  I will be doing some posts over the next couple of days about the whole trip: I will save you the pain of having to have it all in one post!

On Sunday, August 14th, after my last post, I went to help out the priest at a couple of Masses.  He had me do the second reading in SPANISH!  I am sure I made mistakes in pronunciation.  Afterwards, we went to a bar to watch the Barcelona vs. Madrid soccer game which was a lot of fun.

On August 15th, we began our day with Mass with the people of Murcia.  It was the Assumption – which is a national holiday in Spain.  After Mass we made our way to an area of the town where there was a bus waiting to take us to Madrid.  I must say, it was very nice to get on a bus!  It was the most comfortable surface I had been on all week!

We got into Madrid at around 6pm.  Now, I must say, from my last WYD experience, that the first two days of WYD are complete chaos; it was no different this time.  We got off the bus and Maria and I went inside to go do our registration.  After waiting in line for 1.5 hours, we get to a booth only to find out that we are supposed to go directly to the places we are being hosted!  But there was another problem: I was put in a different place from the rest of the group.  So we waited for about 3 hours until we decided to just forget about it and go to our seperate places for the night and get it figured out the next day.

I was in a gym that was EXTREMELY hot.  I had not eaten all day and was not allowed to leave.  A nice Italian couple who are members of the Neo-Catechuminal Way offered me some apricot cookies and a can of warm lime Fanta.  I was so hungry I just didnt care and was very grateful of their generosity!  That is one of the really great things of WYD: amazing acts of Christian charity in the greatest simplicity.

So I attempted to sleep that night, but I didn’t get much sleep.  The lady who was in charge of the school gym I was staying at said that if I wanted to go early the next morning to get my registration I could.  I was up at 5:30 anyways and so wanted to go and get it.  But I couldn’t leave because she was sleeping.  And me being me, I was not keen on waking them up, and so just waited.  Then she said that she wanted us all to leave at 10:30, once she finally woke up, to show us the metro stations nearby.  I wanted out and the Ugandans saw me use my kindle and they all wanted to use it to check their e-mail.  I wanted out, so I said I would take a taxi so I could go and meet up with my group (this is the 16th, by the way).  So I went and got registration and went to meet up with my group.

I finally met up with my group, who, when I arrived, was told they have to move again (they had already moved one night earlier) because the group coming in didnt want any boys in the school (which I understand).  It is a long story as to why they had to move three times, but we eventually went to drop off our stuff and get some lunch.

After a few things we went downtown for the opening Mass.  That was crazy.  We tried to get to a spot which a volunteer was leading us to, but it was crazy there.  We got stuck in a crowd for over an hour trying to move and it was actually a little scary with how tight it was there.  We missed the opening Mass and ended up finding refuge in a Starbucks for a few hours until the crowds disperssed.

Afterwards I went to get my stuff from the first place to move to where my group was.  We ended up in a hallway of a school near Aluche station.  That was, despite the hallway floor, a blessing because we were VERY close to the area for the final Mass.

When I get a chance, the next post will be about our adventures on the Wednesday.

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