Gracias a Dios

(Paul Tropicales, CFC Kids for Family and Life)

                  I can still remember the time when my father gave me a replica of the crucifix staff of Blessed John Paul II that he bought as a souvenir of the WYD 1995. That time he told me the story of the Blessed John Paul II, little did I know that my name Paul is taken from his name. Since then I desire to see him personally and to say that he is my idol. When JPII passed away I cried and simply pray “Lord thank you for giving me the desire to see him”. Though I didn’t have a chance to see him personally his name remains in my name and the desire to see his successor also remains.

                  From the time that someone made an announcement that there will be a WYD in Madrid, I was so excited and thankful for that opportunity. Having the desire to see the pope is the top 1 intention of mine, next is to strengthen my faith and to know more about its roots, lastly it is my personal offering to God. Completing all the requirements for the WYD is the first step and I am so hesitant to do it, because in my mind a lot of money needs to go to the WYD. It was a leap of faith for me to really do it and allow the Lord to work in gathering and saving money, truly the Lord works in unexpected way. He provided everything more than what we expected.

                  During the WYD there is a lot of purification of my intentions that happened. First the sun is really up measuring 42 degree Celsius that time we are waiting from 1pm to 7pm just to see the pope. The feeling of hunger, thirst plus the very hot environment is all yours, but we survive. We saw the Pope and he waved his hands on us. I was so amaze on how the people preserve their churches, statues of saints and historical sites in Madrid. Actually we had a good time visiting all those, but then I realized that there are only few young people going to mass. Every time we visit a church I silently pray to God to enable more people to decide to preserve their faith and live it out. I’m so thankful that I’m a Filipino, but the Lord challenge me to become a real catholic Filipino. I also had a chance to visit Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. Since I was preparing for the WYD I always pray to our Virgin Mother to intercede to all my intentions. Being in the place where she had her miracle is being in a state of grace. I was so affirmed that through our mother, she will always draw me closer to his Son. Lastly I decided to offer my pilgrimage experience in the WYD to our God. Before the WYD I had a very serious struggle that I felt I fell rock bottom, but because of God’s grace little by little I bounce back. I’m so very thankful to all the people who helped me and prayed for me to bounce back. I’m still in awe, that after all those things that happened, still the Lord chose me to experience His grace in Madrid. I had my intentions for the WYD, but I realized that what matters most are the intentions of our Lord in our life, and then I pray Lord let it be done according to your intentions. I’m so very thankful to you O’ Lord that no words can express my gratitude to You, in my humane ability I will continue to love You even more, I will follow you and I will trust you. You are so great, and I can attest to that. Gracias a Dios! Amen.

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