In his homily, the pope said the vision of that sea of happy souls "fills my heart with joy."
"I think of the special love with which Jesus is looking upon you. Yes, the Lord loves you and calls you his friends," the pope told the young.
In his homily at the Mass, Pope Benedict said faith is not about understanding a bunch of facts, "it is an ability to grasp the mystery of Christ's person in all its depth."
Even if it feels like a struggle at times, faith is not primarily about people working out their thoughts about God; it starts with the gift of God's love and God's reaching out to each person, he said.
Faith entails "a personal relationship with Christ, a surrender of our whole person, with all our understanding, will and feelings," he said.
But the pope went even further, telling the young that a personal relationship with Jesus always must be transformed into action, service and love for others. In addition, it must be lived within the church, the community of believers to whom Jesus entrusted his message and his mission of salvation.
"We cannot follow Jesus on our own," he said. Those who try "approach the life of faith with the kind of individualism so prevalent today" and risk not encountering the real Jesus or "following a counterfeit Jesus," he said.
Christ asks each person, "Who do you say that I am?" the pope said.
"Respond to him with generosity and courage, as befits young hearts like your own," he told the young.
"Let me urge you to strengthen this life of faith which has been handed down from the time of the apostles," he said. "Make Christ, the Son of God, the center of your life."
In his parting words of encouragement to the young pilgrims the pope said: “There is no reason to lose heart in the face of the various obstacles we encounter in some countries. The yearning for God which the creator has placed in the hearts of young people is more powerful than all of these."
The pope urged youth to follow Christ’s passion and “take upon our own shoulders the sufferings of the world, in the certainty that God is not distant or far removed from man and his troubles.”
He also named a new doctor of the church. St. John of Avila will become the Catholic Church's 34th doctor of the church and announced that the next World Youth Day would be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2013.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Sister Marcia and I are back home with lots of stories about our experiences in Madrid. The witness of so many young people full of hope and joyful in their faith have made me feel more resolved in my commitment as a religious and firmer in faith. I loved the infectious joy of these young people from around the world in the streets and on the Metro. Madrid will never be the same! What a preaching the presence of those 500,000 has been for the city and the world! More videos are available on familyrosary.org/wyd.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
A glorious rain fell in the midst of the Pope's opening of the vigil at Cuatros Vientos cooling the pilgrims with the welcome blessing of rain. Umbrellas and hats popped up all around. Bishops dawned their white World Youth Day safari hats and joined in the amusement giving themselves up to the miracle of a refreshing if boisterous rain. The Pope smiled contentedly under his umbrella...his white hair blowing around in decorous tufts. It was a moment of simple joy and welcome relief from the August heat for a crowd of two million..double the expected attendance. The technology crew worked overtime protecting equipment and lines from water damage. The Pope's talk, interrupted by the storm, will be published on line later. He went backstage looking amused and grateful. The young people smiling and jumping in front of the camera agreed the storm was an unexpected blessing no one could have asked for but all seemed to enjoy. Tomorrow morning we will try to gain access to the area reserved for us by our tickets. How they will empty the area tonight and refill it tomorrow remains a question...but we will try!
Today we attended Mass in the Palacio de Deportes with over 50 Bishops from the USCCB and 300 priests at World Youth Day. We closed up our stations in the Internet Cafe and Vocations Cafe and went out to the old town to visit the Cathedral and Palace. We had lunch at El Botin...the oldest restaurant in the world according to Guinness Book of World Records. While we were in the restaurant the Pope passed by on his way to meet with the Seminarians. That makes twice we ran into him when we weren't looking for him. God's grace! When you are trying to run into him you have a long wait and a huge crowd. Now the pilgrims are on their way to Cuatros Vientos for the all night vigil. The Metro is amazingly efficient but very crowded right now. I'm catching up with uploading videoclips to The Teknosista Channel . This one is about the Internet Cafe.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
This is a Link to my Facebook photos of Sister Marcia doing vocation work at the Palacio de Deportes, the Rosary Chapel and Eucharistic Adoration space, Mass with the Diocese of San Jose in the Jesuit Church of Franciso de Borja and waiting along the route of the Pope's arrival. I captured video of the Pope mobile moving along the route to Plaza de Cibeles for the welcoming.
The Pope arrives in Madrid today and people are lining the streets and singing songs. All along the route you can see bright colored flags of all the nations and young people in groups of 30-40 chanting Viva il Papa and waving. It is so heartening to see how the young are faithful to the Church and witnessing the faith with joy and hope. The message the presence of these 500,000+ speaks a profound truth that God is loved in the presence of the Holy Sacraments of the Church and in the Spirit of Communion alive in the Body. While the mainstream media promotes a false message that young people have no interest in their religion and that religious vocation is dying out, what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears at World Youth Day preaches the Truth that God is alive in our Church in our time.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
At the Media Center at the LOVE AND LIFE CENTER in Palacio de Deportes, we are uploading videos daily to the library and sharing live streaming video of events as they unfold. You can join us from home by going to this link.... http://www.livestream.com/wydcentral
Saturday, August 13, 2011
I am so excited to be packed and ready to go to Madrid finally! I'm watching a movie called Real: The Movie about the soccer team and those who follow them. I've been watching movies made in Madrid for weeks trying to catch flavor and the accent of Madrid and increase my comprehension of spoken Spanish. Marcia and I will be at Palacio de Deportes during the day and at all the major events. My only regret is not getting tickets for the grand finale soccer game. Soccer is my favorite sport. I played fullback in games at college in the U.S. and Austria. Right full back. No one came down my side of the field and made a goal ... ever! They came down my side, but if they did, they quickly decided to try the other side and not come back. I am easygoing in personality, but relentless by nature. I would not leave my mark alone until I had the ball out of there with many injuries to show for it. After two serious injuries, I gave it up in senior year. I have the bad left knee to show for it. No regrets though. I still love to watch it. I hope to take some great photos and video clips of all the events at which I'm present to share with young people. I am already hyped for World Youth Day 2014. Where will it be??? It is a tradition for a World Youth Day location to be announced at the World Youth Day preceding it... Does anyone have a guess? Tomorrow morning at 5:00 I am off to Madrid. I love to fly! Volare!!!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
If you have not seen the movie Even the Rain, it is worth watching. There is an insightful interplay between the filming of a movie about the quest for gold at the time of the landing of Columbus in the new world and the quest for water in the present day. It is available on streaming video on Netflix. Spanish and Quechan with English subtitles.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Yesterday, we had the blessings of a "cast of thousands" crew of volunteers from Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward. They contributed a day of service to us on our feast day. My sisters and I were amazed that they were able to paint 2 hallways, 15 rooms, 14 utility and storage areas and 4 telephone rooms in just one day! We have let this work go undone for many years because of the expense. In making decisions about how to employ our financial resources we consider what is most needed. These areas seemed never to fit the answer to that question...and yet we see them every day. Fresh paint is such a joy! We promised to keep this generous principal and her staff in prayer for the rest of year. May their example of humble service help to bring many into closer union with God and the family of faith. Though it is true that we are saved by faith which gives us hope when all seems dark and despair threatens to deceive us, it is also true that good works help us to find the courage to have faith because of the inner peace they bring us. As many are out of work I hope that all people can find creative ways of doing good works so they do not lose heart. There are so many places that need help. Volunteering is good for the soul and for the community. Blessings on all our Dominican Volunteers and the teachers and staff of Moreau Catholic High School.