WORLD YOUTH DAY 2011, a miracle!!

altWorld Youth Day 2011, a Catholic event held from August 16-21, 2011 in Madrid, Spain focused on youth. Media estimated the event’s attendance as over a million or 1.5 million.

Pope Benedict XVI revealed the location of the event at the final Massin Australia at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse during World Youth Day 2008.

It was the second time that Spain hosted the event. World Youth Day 1989 was held from August 15–20 1989 at Santiago de Compostela.

This year’s theme is “Rooted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith”

Filipino Youth in Rome Italy participated for the much-awaited event of the year and here are some of their unforgettable experiences….

“Pentecost Experience in the 21st Century”

The biblical narrative of Pentecost is given in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. As recounted in Acts 2:1-6:
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
While those on whom the Spirit had descended were speaking in tongues, the disciple eleven and proclaimed to the crowd that this event was the fulfillment of the prophecy (“I will pour out my spirit”) in reports: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

Pentecost is sometimes described as the “Birthday of the Church.” The disciples after receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit emerged from the upper room and preached without fear.

The World Youth Day in Madrid could be a 21st century version of the Pentecost. Young people (and also old) of different cultures, languages and nationalities gathered together in unity to make a stand, that is to proclaim their faith – faith in the catholic church. Indeed they have made a statement/declaration and showed to the world despite of its indifference and the culture that its cultivating such as relativism, secularism and consumerism, that God is the highest and greatest treasure man could ever have. Man needs God because it is only Him who can quench that thirst of something beyond what is apparent.

It was an event filled with an expression of faith, hope and love. Faith because young people showed how strong and firm they are to endure the energy – consuming activities and weather, but most especially during the tempestuous rain storm which interrupted the discourse of the Pope and shattered some tents. I highly regard their reverence and loyalty to the Pontiff whom we believe as the successor of Peter because they remained and waited until the storm stopped. As for my group we endured the strong wind just to get to the train station catching our flight to return home.

It was an experience of hope. Hope for the church of whom the youth are the future and the promise to continue on spreading the Gospel.
Further it was an experience of love/charity. It was remarkable how each one shows charity to the one who is weak and in need. The simple gesture of carrying another’s luggage, waiting for someone who was behind and putting on a smile face to greet each other “Hola” and “Buenos dias” are already expressions love – of self-giving. They denied themselves from the comfort of home and mundane things while embracing the challenges and crosses with joy and satisfaction.

Our group also experienced an unusual act of charity and hospitality or I should call it a miracle – a divine providence. God sent angels to assist us in the moment of difficulties and helplessness. A family warmly welcomed us and granted us temporary shelter and offered us sumptuous food. We hardly knew each other but it seemed like we’ve been part of the family. I personally thank them for such an amazing act of hospitality and I pray that God will repay them, for they have lived-up the gospel as Mt. 25:35 says, “ I was a stranger and you welcomed Me”.

With this, I humbly confess that my former impression about the youth of today was completely reversed. They are firm, rooted, committed and fearless in proclaiming to the world their faith and belief in the Catholic Church. And most of all, it is their declaration that God exists and man needs Him.” (Sis. Roschelle Isada)

altLa Giornata Mondiale della Gioventù a Madrid di quest’ anno è stata a dir poco fantastica, non perché si è svolta in una bella e rovente città spagnola, ma perché la GMG in se è un qualcosa di unico! Questo incontrarsi con gente di mezzo mondo, fare nuove esperienze e nuove amicizie rendono questo evento in particolar modo interessante quanto emozionante. Ma questo non è solo un modo di conoscere persone ma anche un modo per conoscere se stessi, infatti la GMG è prima di tutto un pellegrinaggio per avvicinarsi sempre più alla nostra fede cristiana! È per questo che ritengo questo evento unico e speciale!
(John Paul Nenaria)

“La JMJ di Madrid è stata un’esperienza meravigliosa e che volentieri rifarei! Avendo già partecipato alla GMG del 2005 in Germania sapevo in grandi linee cosa aspettarmi ma le persone nuove che ho conosciuto, gli amici che con me hanno vissuto questa esperienza e sia il tempo caldo che gli imprevisti hanno reso la JMJ spagnola unica e indimenticabile!”
(Justine Nenaria)

“La Giornata Mondiale della Gioventù a Madrid è stata un’ esperienza ricca di emozioni indescrivibili perché bisogna viverle per poterle capire appieno. Non è un semplice raduno di giovani che vogliono incontrarsi e divertirsi, è la fede dentro ognuno di noi che ci ha spinto ad accettare l’ invito del Papa a stare tutti insieme in un luogo, pregare, conoscersi e vivere insieme condividendo le stesse credenze. E’ un modo diverso per meditare e scoprire quanto è forte la fede in Dio nei giovani di tutto il mondo, è utile per confrontarsi con gli altri, scoprire di non essere soli ed imparare ad accrescere la propria fede tramite le esperienze di ogni giorno. E’ anche una via per imparare ad apprezzare le cose a partire da se stessi e da tutto ciò che abbiamo nella nostra vita, tramite il sacrificio del pellegrinaggio e la frequente preghiera; sono cose che difficilmente invece si fanno se non assieme ad altri coetanei che la pensano come te. Io mi sono divertita tantissimo, Madrid è una città bellissima che ci ha ospitato quasi in modo perfetto. Posso dire di aver sentito la forte presenza di Dio tra noi, negli occhi di tutte le persone che ho incontrato e che mi hanno ispirato a fare del bene. Ho provato il vero sentimento di amore e fratellanza tra noi ragazzi che non ci conoscevamo per niente, ma ci è bastato veramente poco per volerci bene; ho visto la gioia di vivere e la bellezza di tutto ciò che Dio ha creato. Sono felice di aver partecipato per la terza volta alla Giornata Mondiale dei Giovani e mi sento fortunatissima ad aver vissuto tutti questi momenti speciali che non dimenticherò mai nella mia vita.”
(Aica Doliente)

alt“Devo dire che è stata un’esperienza fantastica dall’inizio alla fine. Appena arrivati al collegio ci hanno accolto come se già ci conoscessero. Sì, come fossimo una grande famiglia. E questo sentimento così unito è rimasto fino all’ultimo giorno che siamo stati lì!”
(Princess Diaz)

“La JMJ a Madrid è stata un’esperienza unica e bellissima. E’ straordinario come molte persone da tutto il mondo si siano riunite in una città, lontana dalla propria, per motivi religiosi, per lodare il Signore e condividendo tutto con persone mai incontrate prima..
In questo evento si è visto veramente come il Signore si muova in noi.”
(Mark Fermo)

“World Youth Day in Madrid was a great and amazing experience! I will never forget the emotions that filled my heart during that week. We met a lot of people from different countries. Pinoys in Madrid were so happy seeing our Philippine flag. They warmly welcomed us and gave us everything we needed with so much generosity. You can really feel the love, charity and unity! Sharing food, carrying each other bags, praying together, dancing with joy and sleeping next to each other.. Everything is memorable and inspiring lesson for life! Under the rain, after walking for more than 2 hours, helping each other in carrying our things, is indeed a miracle!. We are the future of the world! We need the ‘inspiring voice’ who will guide and give strength. We need God in our lives!

We returned in Rome with more strength, happiness and hope in our hearts.. We’ve met new friends, we’ve learned a lot in the history of Spain, visited many historical and religious place and also tasted Spanish food!

The next World Youth Day will be in Brazil!”
(Toneth Doliente)

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