Pope Benedict at the WYD final Mass
Morning! Been awake an hour and a half now – was woken up by a phone call from Maggie, who wanted to come see our group! Then, as previously arranged, I had a phone call from Rob Dunger, which was broadcast on Radio Suffolk. Just need to put sun cream on now…
All sun creamed up. We’re now waiting for the Holy Father to arrive (again), who will celebrate the Closing Mass of WYD Madrid 2011. “Firmes en La Fe” is playing again – gotta love that hymn now! Everyone’s finally awake and there’s a buzz in the air – no, not the helicopters… I think the storm last night did everyone a favour – it cooled us down, allowed everyone to get much closer in their groups and we all had fun! It din’t rain after I went to sleep, or at least, I wasn’t wet when I woke up! Had a really good night’s sleep last night, which was amazing, considering I was literally in a sleeping bag, no roll mat, no air bed, no nothing, and I still slept well! It’s now getting really warm and it’s gonna get even hotter!
Our priests were up and about really early, as they needed to go and get ready to celebrate Mass with the Pope. They’re showing the thousands of priests on the big screen now and it’s a huge mass of white! Looks amazing! We have no sound again, but we’ll see what happens. Flags are flying and it looks like the King and Queen of Spain are here, walking along with a bishop. Not too sure who he is, but I’m sure it’s someone important.
Sounds like he’s here – just going to have a look. Yep, Mass has started! I would go to the Press Centre, but feel it’s more important to be with my group during the Concluding Mass. A Spanish Cardinal is speaking, apparently welcoming us to the final Mass of WYD. The Holy Father invites us to pray. He’s sprinkled holy water over himself and the rest of the ministers, clergy and other people that are close enough. The Glory to God is being sung – lovely version. The weather’s gorgeous now and it’s only 10am! The speaker allowed the Amen of the Glory to God to roll around for ages – it sounded really good!
First reading is from Isaiah. Of course it’s in Spanish,, but we have the English translation in our Magnificat. The Psalm is Psalm 138. Sounds much more complicated in Spanish! The cantor has a lovely voice – I’d be so scared if I was singing the Psalm during Mass with the Pope. It’s great how many people in our group can sing – just listening to people and I’d say that easily at least 50%, if not more, can really sing! Second reading’s from St Paul second letter to the Corinthians.
And now, the Gospel. The Acclamation is one we know very well! Everyone’s joining in. Found the English translation. “You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church” from Matthew’s Gospel. The Holy Father’s about to give his homily. I love listening to the Holy Father - there’s no mistaking his voice and he always talks directly to us, as opposed to at us, which is just lovely! Ooh, wow, an English bit! Asking us to remain silent and reflect on the Holy Father’s teaching and people are obliging again. It’s absolutely silent here, you could hear a pin drop. Really powerful silence. Awesome. Broken by the Holy Father, praying. I don’t know what we’re supposed to be singing, but it sounds great! I apparently missed the renewal of our baptismal promises, and we are now praying the Prayer of the Faithful. The Litany of the Eucharist now. We’re unable to receive Communion here, by have been encouraged by the Pope to go back to Madrid and find a local church to receive from in place of here. This was all due to the amazing weather last night, causing problems like destroying the adoration places around the airfield at Cuatro Vientos!
I’ve just thought how to describe it here – it’s like a real community of people. Although we don’t all know each other and there are language barriers, that doesn’t matter at all, because we are all celebrating something that is close to everyone’s heart here, and that is Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made for us. Silence again. The Pope is now singing the Preface. I love this, because if Mass is in a foreign language, everyone knows this bit because the tune is absolutely universal.
Sign of peace was amazing – yes, we made the sign of peace with our own group, but other people near us came and were saying “Pax Christi”! Loads of people and it was brilliant! There are no hostile feelings here.
“I, the Lord of sea and sky” is playing and being sung very enthusiastically by our group, as it’s in English! That was fantastic! Loved it!
I believe the cross on the altar is the one that was used for Via Crucis, although I could be completely wrong! I’ve got no idea how long Communion will last for, but I’m really grateful that everyone around is quiet. Oh, nope, that was it! Prayer time after Communion now, and again, we’re asked to stay quiet. Really amazing two million people being quiet can be! (If you know what I mean!)
We’ll shortly be finding out where the next WYD is going to be held. Are the rumours correct? Is it going to be Rio? We’ll have to wait and see. The Pope is being thanked for the YouCat book which each and every pilgrim received in the Pilgrim Packs. It was a personal gift from the Holy Father. Young people from around the world are being gifted with a cross, which they are about to receive. 5 people are lucky enough to receive their crosses directly from the Holy Father. How incredible must they be feeling right now?
It’s in Rio! In 2013! Wow, 2 years to get all that money together! We’ll do it though – it always come together! He was speaking in English, sending blessings on us until we meet again in just 2 years’ time. He’s just given the Angelus. Hail Mary in Latin – gorgeous! Blessings are extended through us to our loved ones back home. “Firmes en La Fe” yet again – great! There’s a real concept of oneness here.
That’s it! All done! Until 2 years’ time, that is. Rio will be amazing! Might even be better organised than Spain! Everyone’s packing up now, starting to head back to their accommodation, or wherever they’re staying. It has been such an inspiration time here in Spain, with some lows, many highs and oh so many laughs! It’s been great and I think I speak for lots of people when I say that my faith has been deepened and I’m even prouder to say that I am a practising Catholic that I was before! Now to return to our parishes across the world and explain and inspire people about WYD and encourage them to come to the next one! It’s been simply amazing!
I’ll keep on blogging for a while, just to wrap things up, but that’s it from me for now! Many thanks to everyone that’s read my posts! I really hope these two aren’t too lengthy for you!