Free Grapes. One of the memorable experiences that we had during our Days in the Diocese at Sierra de Fuentes was our meals. We ate at a later schedule – breakfast at 10 am, lunch at 2 pm and dinner at 10 pm. Our usual meals consisted of bread, butter, jam and biscuits. One time after breakfast, Padre Jesus, the parish priest of Sierra de Fuentes brought us to their backyard where we saw real vineyard complete with grapes ready for the picking. Without us needing to ask, he instantly got the ladder and climbed it to get some grapes for us to eat. The next day, our experience with the grapes was surprisingly affirmed by the first reading. In Joshua 24: 13 it says, “Now you are living there and eating grapes from vines that you did not plant…” Then I realized that for the past 30 years of my life, I have never thought or dreamed that one day I’ll be in Madrid to attend the World Youth Day. Yet there I was enjoying God’s generosity. God just allowed it to happen simply because He wanted it to. He wants to reveal more of Himself to me and He wants to use me to reveal Himself to other people because of this experience.
Catechesis by the Bishops. Catechesis was one of the activities that we attended. It was a privilege to see and hear the Bishops themselves speak of Jesus. They radiated real conviction and love in having a personal and intimate with Jesus. It was very evident how they love their Catholic Faith. The bishops inspired me to know and seek Jesus more. It encouraged me to push my prayer time to a higher level and to increase my participation in the Holy Sacraments. They have moved me to know more by heart and mind and put my Catholic faith into actions.
Rain During the Vigil. According to many, it never fails to rain during every Vigil of the World Youth Day. And it’s true it did rain during the Vigil. It was during that time that I most felt the loving presence of the Lord. It’s hard to put it in words but I felt so much peace and joy. I was just smiling all the time while enjoying the rain that came at that time.
The Holy Eucharist. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist was indeed special. Let me enumerate the reasons why. 1) The Holy Mass was presided by the Holy Father Himself. 2) It was attended by more that one million youth of different colours, races, ages, status and ranks in life. 3) It was celebrated in different languages like Latin, Spanish, German, Italian and English. 4) It was enriched with melodious songs of praises and worship to God. 5) The Holy Father extended the blessings of the Lord to our families. This made me remember the story of Zacchaeus who even climbed the sycamore tree just to see Jesus Christ and because of this he was blessed together with his entire family. So what could I ask for? It’s all there! Praise God for this privilege and blessing.