(Gerald de Guzman, CFC SFL)

the world youth day in general was indeed a marvelous, God touched event that gathers the youth from different nations all over the world.this celebration of faith literally breaks barries of each an every individual involved in it. and even police barriers if you have seen the news,some of my friends may not be that lucky because they in first hand encounters the protesters that insults the community created by God under its vicar Pope Benedcit XVI.

to start with my experience, now where exactly do i start. we’ve gone to a place were it’s history is as equal as our country’s. where whats old in our country looks like new to them. but what strucks me the most is that the rudeness that once known to the spanish people was indeed turn outside down and niceness and hospitality that was completely sureal to them was felt all around. i am not sure whether is it just the world youth day, or perhaps that we just reciprocated what is needed for them to be.or perhaps the other reason is that maybe they really are nice and hospitable. only God knows. because of this traits we have seen, we got to have a second family in their midst. and the best part was we had each one has perhaps know a new father and mother that goes wherever we go. inspire us in everyway possible. for me personally i found a father figure i the person that is Juan Mig. he make me feel at home and keeps us safe as always.

In this historical place of Sierra de Fuentes, we got to laugh and converse with our new found friends. Ivan, Nadia, Aurora, and Irene and forgot the other girl. They were the person that each of the team bonded not because they can or cannot speak english.but they were the most curious of all and i think the most courageous of us all. they were the first one to talk to us no matter what me might think about them. and to top it all they even invited us to “party” with them which some of us, found it one of the most meaningfull,entertaining night of their lives.

we marvel at different architectures n montanchez. we even took pictures of it or with ith. eat a salty pig in one of its store. but perhaps the nicest thing we done as a group was dancing and praising what a marvelous job God did to this place and to us to the toon of “ie ie ie…uo uo uo…” we laugh at it but admitted that it was indeed for the greater glory of God. but one of the greatest thing we done in that place was defend life and chastitiy i front of the world and its critic without any fear, and with full conviction to the was just part of what is in store for us during this pilgrimage. but before it ended we got to see the most unlikley person to be touched was indeed touched by God and even cried out here heart because of its presence and existence in her heart. that expression of faith was mostly admirable to me and was indeed sweet in a sense.

As we say goodbye to Caceres and hello to Madrid, we bring each and every memory of that place hoping to see them again soon. as they have said we never say goodbye but, we will see them till we see them “astalavista C·ceres hasta que nos encontremos de nuevo.”

My reflection indeed started in Madrid. each minuite spent in the city was opening my self to something greater that was waiting for me to unravel. i haven’t got any idea what exaclty is happening around me. i see that there are a lot of young people gathering to be firm in their faith. but i never got to figure out what am i doing here, what exactly am i asking God for being here. i never realized it even after returning home. i know kuya dave, kuya wally woke me up because we have things to do for the day. i know i slept under the mercy of God under the stars. i know i complained about the heat, the smell and the dense number of people a given area. i got to applaude because the people around me are applauding. i prayed because have some intentions to pray to. i know i glanced at the Holy Pope at the welcoming. i remember holding the flag for hours, eat the hardest bread known to Filipino people and got soaked in the rain during the vigil. i even remembered seeing a lot of our friends crying of enthusiasm and joy, i even recall a few of us shouting their intentions to Mama Mary in every way possible. But none of it seems to matter, it look to just a formality for me being there. it may sound blasphemous, but to me its what it is.

But then again, what happen in between those events was for me the most meaningful of all. Some of you may say: “Say what?” others may say that the pilgrimage to Fatima was the highlight of the trip. some of them may say that it was the cathecesis, the “ie ie ie…”, the vigil with the Pope, the final mass, and perhaps alot of you may sa indeed it was the rain. but for me no. The long walks, the bus stops, the worships, the missed train connection, the miss interpreted homily, the scourging heat, the amazing race, and probably the best for me was the conversations during those times. it may be simple for others, because they already experienced it in the Philippines. its what they do every day,why come to WYD just to do thing that you can exactly do back here. But to me, God devised this celebration of faith for me to experience what am i missing that this world hide me from it. He made me spend 100 thousand pesos just for this trip for me to detatch my self from what i am not sure of doing and what bounderies i needed to destroy just to experience this.

You may say that i am running in circles, that i am not pertaining to what exactly happened. to conclude this sharing, i thank you to God for bringing me to Madrid for the JMJ2011, i also thank him for bringing me to one of my listed destination Fatima to meet the blessed Mother Mary in her enthronement as The Lady of Fatima. First I would like thank my parents: Danilo and Esperanza, to their unending support for me. That they understood the risk but still insisted on making me join. I thank my buddies, Kuya Dave and Jeff for being so concern and opening me to the value of brotherhood. To Kuya Wally and VL, for telling me that fear itself was the one thats bringing me down. To Chloe, that you open us that even language barriers cannot hinder the essence of friendship .Kuya Xavi, for smiling always and for bringing us where we needed to go you never let us down. To Fyron, you made me realize that i am never one step closer to coming here, but you all have due to the reason that you believe that you can be in Madrid no matter what. You are indeed miracle workers. to the translators, thank you for bringing us home and closer to the others. To those whose vocation were opened don’t be afraid to explore what is being given, you’ll never know what greater things God is giving and wil be giving you in this mission. This is not a suicide letter so don’t mourne for what is written. It simply is a thank you for the people who helped me realize what is my essence to coming to the WYD. to those who were not mention for thanks, i’m sorry because it would just prolong the conclusion.I salute you just for being there for me and for others as well. We hope to see each other again in this kind of presence. until then

Thank You and Godbless
To God be Glory

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