Today, Day 4 of the World Youth Day events in Madrid, Father Barron offered a session on evangelization to the participants. Read below to find out more, to see the day's photos, and to read Rozann's reflection on the multitude of "voices" that have characterized this incredible pilgrimage.
To begin Day 4 in Madrid, a word from the team (minus VIP Jamie Fleischel, who had just departed to film the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI into the city):
(In the spirit of "World Youth Day"...)
Day 4 actually began, after our theatrical intro, with a walk from our hotel to the Palacio De Deportes where Father Barron would be offering a session to the youth on evangelization after their morning catechesis presentation. On the way, the sidewalks were lined with Spanish policemen standing no more than 10 feet apart, preparing for the arrival of the Pope later in the day.
When we arrived at the Palacio, Fr. Barron was greeted by a young deacon (on his way toward ordination) from Haiti who uses Father's YouTube videos to evangelize Haiti and hopes to offer the Catholicism Series Study Program
to his spiritually hungry parishioners. Please pray for this amazing man and his ministry.
Yolanda Nieves from Palm Desert, California, showed up to the Word on Fire booth to claim her free copy of the Catholicism Series
after winning Tuesday's drawing.
Father Barron's break-out session this afternoon contained directives for the WYD pilgrims on "How to Evangelize the Culture." Many of the audience members stayed afterwards to visit with Father, including young adults from San Antonio, Toronto, and Australia:
We also ran into some more of our friends from the Chicago area, the Lees from Libertyville.
If you are in Madrid and haven't made it by to see us, please venture over tomorrow!
Finally, here is a short reflection from Rozann Carter on the day:
Any gathering of thousands of people, let alone one that brings together one million young adults from all around the world, is going to be characterized upon first encounter by a literal cacophony of voices. Throughout the week, even within the “Palacio de Deportes” (which is the venue explicitly set apart for English-speaking events), the entire city of Madrid has been abuzz with voices— sounds from every global region, language, dialect, and accent.
Inside the arena, Word on Fire has a booth from which we pass out materials and spread the word about the CATHOLICISM Series and the Word on Fire ministry at large. That seems harmless enough. However… as a person who has long been fascinated by (almost covetous of) interesting accents, I have, embarrassingly, found it terribly difficult not to respond in kind when, after offering a key card to a pilgrim, I am greeted by a fantastic rendition of “Sure, thanks” that sounds more like, “Oh, ‘ello! A key cahd? Lovely! Right, Oh’ll have three of ‘em. Cheeahs!”
English speakers from France, Grenada, Haiti, Australia, the UK, the American South, North, Mid-west, etc., South Africa, Mexico, Spain, India, you name it—all of these cultural representatives and accents have found their way to Madrid, to Palacio de Deportes, and to the Word on Fire booth this week. And, while I have to hold my tongue to keep myself from practicing my well-intentioned imitations out loud, I am thrilled by the scope of this week’s events, the number of students from the host of diverse cultures and countries, and finally, simply by the voices that are heard in Spain and, de facto, around the world, each a unique, confident, and “quite lovely” expression of a particular aspect of the Body of Christ.
The power of these voices, however, was made especially manifest today during the Mass. Offered to a packed arena, 15,000 full with standing room only, the Mass served as the pinnacle gathering point for the day’s events. Sections of matching tee shirts filled the “cheap seats,” thousands of WYD backpacks littered the aisles, the distinctive habits of youthful monks and nuns peppered the audience, and the accented voices of these devoted pilgrims sang “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus” with a reverence and beauty that made me look upward for the proverbial choir of angels. However, no sound was more beautiful than the moment when these individual and collective voices were simultaneously silenced: the arena-wide folding of stadium seats, the shuffling about in an attempt to hit 15,000 pairs of knees, and the subsequent hush of a sea of youthful, vibrant, expressive Catholics in sacred worship during the event of the consecration.
The most powerful, beautiful, and “imitation worthy” voice I have yet heard this week carried no sound. And, like another vocal reference from our scriptural past, this compelling voice, this union of thousands of silent and yet still properly-expressed voices conveying holy reverence for the saving power of Christ’s real and salvific presence in the Eucharist, seemed to cry out in the desert, calling all who witnessed—all who in that stadium heard, to “prepare the way of the Lord.”
Please continue to pray for the World Youth Day participants and all young people as they carry this spiritual experience with them to their homes and communities.