Many pilgrims I met along the streets surrounding the Plaza had just arrived in Madrid. Filipino pilgrims had flown 12 hours, having to change in Amsterdam just to reach Madrid in time for the celebrations. A Scout group have set up a campsite that can be seen from my window. A Canadian group have endured a tiring flight and no dinner to make the Mass. French pilgrims our bundled together in a school hall on a hard floor. Now that’s dedication. That’s perseverance.
There was a carnival atmosphere when we arrived in the square. Each nationality had their own flag. Everyone was waving them until the sky became a sea of colour. Pilgrims wearing brightly coloured shirts, rosaries, crucifixes and their WYD badges filled the square over the next two hours. The square itself became so crowded people were shoulder to shoulder. The sun was right overhead, beating down on us so for the Londoners used to the rain and cold it was a bit of a change!
Mercy by Duffy, Outkast’s Hey Yay and Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love blared from the speakers echoing down the streets accompanied by the sound of shouting and cheering pilgrims. The choir was pitch perfect creating n beauty to the Mass settings that were sung.
Confessionals were set up around the edge of the square in the parks nearby for pilgrims to benefit from the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
It was all chaos. It was all calm.
It was the youth of the world coming together in unity. In one faith.