Sunday, July 24, 2011

Prayerful preparation

Hola! (Just brushing up on my Spanish!)

Excitement is growing daily as I prepare for this incredible journey of faith across land, sea and internet. As I investigate I continue to learn more and more about the six days that we will experience in Madrid, Spain. (More about France in another blog.)
In addition to the WYD main events along with catechesis sessions offered by bishops from across the globe and, of course, Mass with Pope Benedict XVI, there will be a Cultural Program that will include concerts, exhibits, museum tours, plays and more. This all according to the official WYD website — Check it out!

Other items of interest:

                                                           The official WYD emblem.

WYD Pilgrim Prayer

Friend and Lord Jesus Christ 
by the World Youth Day team in Madrid 

Friend and Lord Jesus Christ, 
How great You are! 
With Your words and Works You have revealed to us 
Who God is, Your Father and our Father, 
and Who You are: our Savior. 
You call us to be with You. 
We wish to follow You wherever You go. 

We thank You for Your Incarnation. 
You are the Eternal Son of God, 
but You humbled Yourself and became man. 
We thank You for Your Death and Resurrection. 
You obeyed the Father's will to the extreme 
and for this reason You are the Lord of all persons and things. 
We thank You for having remained amongst us in the Eucharist. 

Your Presence, Your Sacrifice, Your Banquet 
Invite us to remain always united to You. 
You Call us to work with You. 
We wish to go wherever You send us: 
to announce Your name, to heal in Your Name, 
to bring all of our brothers to You. 

Grant us Your Holy Spirit, to enlighten and strengthen us. 
The Virgin Mary, the Mother You gave us on the cross, 
always encourages us to do what You say. 
You are our Life. May our thoughts, our love and our actions 
always be rooted in You! 
You are our Rock. May our faith in You always 
be the solid foundation of our life! 

We pray for Pope Benedict XVI, 
for the Bishops and for all those who 
are preparing the next World Youth Day in Madrid. 

We pray for our family and friends 
and especially for 
all the young people who will get to know you 
in this encounter, thanks to the firm and joyful 
testimony of the faith. 

WYD 2011 Hymn

Firmes en la fe, firmes en la fe! 
We go forward in Christ, he's our companion and he is Lord! 
Glory be to him!  Glory be to him! 
We go forward in Christ, made stronger in our faith. 
Your love, it builds us up and keeps us rooted, 
Your cross, it gives us constant strength and courage, 
Your flesh, it ever saves us and sustains us, 
Your blood, it flows to cheer us and renew us. 
Firmes en la fe… 
Your hands, they hold us when we have been wounded, 
Your eyes, they purify the way we see things, 
Your lips, they speak to us words of forgiveness, 
Your feet, they guide our steps to find life's fullness. 
Firmes en la fe... 
Your breath, it is the breeze that blows from heaven, 
Your smile, it is the sign of grace and blessing, 
Your precious wounds, they are love's burning embers, 
Your sorrows are the price of our souls' ransom. 
Firmes en la fe... 
Your face is like an icon of life's fullness, 
Your countenance is light from death returning, 
Your death, it is the reason for my living, 
The baptism of my flesh in your salvation. 
Firmes en la fe...
Your glory is our future, men and women 
Who, aided by your grace, go forth together; 
Your Church, a house which has a thousand doorways, 
A house built on your rock, so firmly rooted. 
Firmes en la fe... 
We are the young, and Mary journeys with us, 
And like a joyful bride she sings your praises; 
With her we too shall sing and praise your triumph, 
Because already death has been defeated. 
Firmes en la fe...

So there you have it. If you have time, check out these websites. This promises to be a life changing trip. Please join us in our pilgrim prayer as we petition our Lord to help us become deeply rooted and firm in our faith.

Buenas noches!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Meeting of the minds...and hearts

Welcome to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend's official World Youth Day travel blog! I'm so excited to be part of this experience.

Last evening, though I didn't get the official head count, over 100 pilgrims, both young and old (well, let's rephrase — young and adult...) gathered at Sacred Heart Parish, Warsaw, for a special Mass and final informational meeting on plans to travel to Madrid. Storms had caused a power outage and it was blazing hot in the church as Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades reminded us that hardship was part of any pilgrimage.
I'm pleased to report that the heat did not dampen the prayerfulness or the joy of this amazing group in any way. (Miraculously the power kicked in just as Bishop was giving his homily. Nothing like divine intervention!)

This group of pilgrims seems very cohesive and share palpable enthusiasm as they anxiously anticipate the trip to France and Spain. They have been preparing financially and spiritually for close to a year.

It was a pleasure to break into small groups after we shared pizza to get to know some of the youth of the diocese a little better. Many I spoke with said they are excited about meeting so many Catholics from across the globe — and of course, seeing the Holy Father!

So as the count down to Aug. 10 continues, we will prepare physically, mentally and spiritually for what we hope will be a life changing event. We humbly ask for prayers for safe travel and spiritual renewal. Can't wait to see what these pilgrims bring back to the diocese to share! More later as we decide what to pack and what to pray!