Monday, August 22, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI in Madrid - WYD / MAGIS News

"In this experience, our presence is more important than the language"

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Madrid to join the thousands of young people that have come from all over the world

MAGIS, August 19th 2011- The 3,000 young MAGIS pilgrims housed in the Jesuit school, Nuestra Señora del Recuerdo are fully incorporated in World Youth Day (WYD). The school turns into a melting pot of pilgrims at 8.30am every day - this is when everyone heads to the dining room to collect their pilgrim's breakfast, given out by volunteers, many of whom are parents of school pupils. After snacking on juice, milkshake, water and a cake, they meet in their groups of origin and go to the activities they have chosen.

Many attend one of the catechesis sessions in their own language offered throughout the city; the sessions in the school hosting the MAGIS pilgrims are in English. They can also visit any of the exhibitions offered as part of WYD, or concerts, musical theatre, workshops, prayer or the Eucharist, like the opening Mass of WYD in Cibeles. The heat of Madrid and the long walks in the city can take their toll, although pilgrims have the opportunity to rest, refresh and take a moment to breathe at any of the 'MAGIS Points'. As well as being places to rest, these can be areas to gather, to meet other groups and to plan the next activities. These MAGIS points are: The school of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart (C/ Rafael Calvo); the student hall of the Religious of the Assumption (C/ Los Olivos), the school of Jesús-María (C/ Juan Bravo) and the Arrupe Centre (C/ Fernando el Católico).

Every day, tired pilgrims arrive at the college, but they have happiness on their faces. Their testimonies are proof that their experience is all worth the effort.

Sol San José is from Madrid and she is about to turn 18. This is her first MAGIS experience and when asked about it her face lights up: "It has been very beautiful so far. Despite the many things we are doing every day I am not down at the end of the day: there's nothing negative. I'm amazed by the experience and by the encounter with people and with God". Sol came with her classmate from Jesús-María school, Ana Molina: "The experience has really fulfilled my expectations: we didn´t know each other at the beginning and now we are all part of a family. We can´t do this alone, without others. Last week I was on an experience with elderly people and that was incredible. I gave and I received a lot". Nathan Vaz, from India, explains: "MAGIS has been something new for us. The language was not a barrier, as in this experience the presence has been more important than the language. The language that flows from the heart is easily understood by everyone. I spent last week on an experience, living with immigrant families. There are many people suffering in India but I never thought that the same would also be true here in Spain".

With the arrival in Madrid of Pope Benedict XVI, as he joins the young people at World Youth day, Sol explains: "To me his arrival is part of my search, as I hope his presence will bring me some deep meaning: I hope he will surprise me. Living these days together, with so many people, is so beautiful". Ana finds a deeper sense in this: "I love being here. I can find God easily in simple things and feel that people from different countries actually share the same faith. I await a gesture from the Pope to the many young people here". Lloyd Daniel is a Jesuit from India. He also awaits the Holy Father: "I feel curious to see the Pope, we all want to see him". Charlie, from France, also expects something special: "In Sydney the crowd made a lot of noise. But as the Pope arrived to celebrate Mass the people suddenly kept quiet. I'm looking forward to participate again in a moment of silence among the crowds".

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