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Monday, August 22, 2011
Before the reflectors are switched off, on the extraordinary XXVI edition of the World Youth Day, that witnessed around 2 million youths from all over the world around Benedict XVI, we are publishing what we have received from Madrid, with news of the last days.

“On 19th August, the Way of the Cross was held in a central place in the city, at which magnificent traditional images were utilized, from the procession of Holy Week (known as “los pasos”), which were brought over from several Spanish regions.

It was unbelievable, to see, hundreds of thousands of youths, who, in spite of the heat and the accumulated tiredness, arrived from everywhere, and know that on the morrow, they would continue the cathechisis in different parts of the city.

A very familial moment: the lunch at the nunciature of Pope Ratzinger with 12 youths from various continents. They are happy and moved, but not withstanding this, everything happens with extreme normality. All repeat that the Pope has listened more than spoken; he wanted to know the attitude with which the youths lived the WYD, and what were their interests, and those of  their age group. Well, he wanted to know from them the reality of youths from all parts of the world. Only at the end, they asked the Holy Father what did he expect from them: “ That you are witnesses to the faith each of you in in their own environment-he answered-rooted in Christ”, being always springs of enthusiasm and joy.

And this is what we experienced in the evening during the get together – a moment of prayer and adoration - organised in a large church dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is impossible to describe the joy, and at the same time, the solemnity that reigned. Against all forecast, the Church was full, half an hour early; and therefore they had to prepare also the large crypt, linked by video. The program took place in Spanish, English, and Italian.

The songs alternated between the Spanish band of Youths for a United World and the international group, Gen Rosso, both now well tuned together, thanks to the work done together in the last evenings. The event was introduced by Rafael of Porto Alegre and Natalia from China, who related their experiences on their commitment to live the Gospel. Then, Chiara Lubich – through a video with youths assembled  at La Coruna for the WYD of 1989 – took us on another level. It was as though she was in the midst of us, speaking to us about the immense project that God has  in the life of  each one of us! With this very high atmosphere, it was natural to adore Jesus, present in the Eucharist, exposed by Mons. Andres Carrascosa, Nunzio of Panama. Together with songs and musical exerpts, we witnessed this marvellous intimate one to one with God.

We left with the appointment to meet the following day at “Cuatro Vientos” (a military airport on the outskirts of Madrid) for the much awaited Holy Mass. It took place, as many could see, in between rain and storm, without affecting in any way, the ardour and enthusiasm of the youths, all concentrated on prayer. So much so that the Pope exclaimed: “Thank you for your joy and your resistance. Your strength has been stronger than the rain.” The TV’s of all the world transmitted the extraordinary images of that sea of youths, under the sun (around 2 million according to the organisers), attentive to the words of Benedict XVI: Reply to Him with generosity and audacity, as is proper of a young heart like yours. Tell Him: Jesus, I know that you are the Son of God, that you gave up your life for me…you know me and love me. I trust you and put my entire life in your hands…You be the strength that sustains me, the joy that will never abandon me…communicate to others the joy of your faith.”

And his invitation for the next edition of WYD in 2013 at Rio De Janeiro, in Brasil, was received with great enthusiasm.

From our our correspondent Dolores Garcia