It’s been a week since I came from Spain. But even until now, I really can’t imagine how the Lord made it possible for me to be part of the World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid.
When the invitation of World Youth Day came last year, deep in my heart, I really wanted to go, but HOW? My parents don’t have work; my sister stopped studying for a semester and looked for a job to help the family. Looking at the fee that is needed was very impossible for me to have. But I just told God, “Lord, you know that I want to, but you know my situation. If you really want me to be there, your will be done.” Even if it’s impossible: applying for schengen visa, raising money, etc. I kept on passing all the requirements with the word in my mind, “YOU’RE WILL BE DONE, OH LORD.” Then months had passed until this news came that our visa was approved and it is possible for most of the fulltime workers to go to the WYD. I really can’t believe that this is true and happening to me until the day that we are all in the NAIA airport waiting for our flight until we reached the Madrid.
When we arrived Sierra de Fuentes as our host for the Days in the Diocese, it was really a big adjustment: the weather (from 35-40°C), the time difference (we can’t believe that it’s already 7:30am and the sun is just about to rise), no rice meal (they only prepare it every Sunday) and we have to eat bread almost every day from breakfast to dinner, and of course the Spanish language. Thank God that we have missionaries who can speak Spanish who helped us translate words. We met Padre Jesus (parish priest), their youths and some elders in Sierra de Fuentes. We visited their two chapels: one is in town and the other was in the hill. And during our stay there, we were able to share our country and how the Spain brought the catholic faith in the Philippines and also what our community (CFCFFL) is all about. It was also privilege to sing “Ama Namin” and “Lord I Give You My Heart” (by Kuh Belarmino) in their mass. Even if it was only 5-day stay in Sierra de Fuentes, it was really already a good memory to keep and I really felt the friendship that was established, their warm and love to us that whatever our activities are in the diocese, they always accompany us. These moments made us teary-eyed when it’s time to leave the place.
This is it! MADRID! The week of stay in Madrid was really a very adventurous experience for all of us. I thought we already adjusted to everything – food, weather, sleep pattern, but WAIT! Since our accommodation was quite far from the city where the WYD will be held, we need to ride a bus and a train plus we have to take a very, very, very long walk just to reach the place. It was really hot and very tiring. But despite of the pains and uneasy feeling, it’s all worth it because I felt that God’s presence is always with us. He keeps on sending angels to help us during the WYD week: an old woman who helped us where to find a good place to eat, a Filipina who told us where to find a money changer, two Filipinas who also helped us the easiest way to reach Alcorcon where we are staying after the opening mass by Pope Benedict XVI, the volunteer who also helped us look for a place to stay since the assigned place for our group during the vigil was already full and a lot more. But the most amazing experience during this week was: first, seeing the pope closely on the day that he arrives in Madrid. I really felt the Holy Spirit is in that place despite of the long wait under the tremendous heat that I see myself crying when I saw him. Second, was during the vigil in Cuatro Vientos. They said that every last day of World Youth Day, it rains. I thought since it’s really hot in Madrid, it will not. But it happened. When the pope arrived and started the program for the vigil it started to rain. It was not just a rain but there’s a wind along with it. It’s a good thing that we’re all prepared and brought our raincoats. The rain won’t stop until Pope Benedict XVI told us to pray that the rain will stop. After a few minutes, the rain stopped and all of us were shouting, saying “Thank you Lord!” I was really amazed of what happened. That night was really a revelation of God’s presence in that event. I really felt that it was a miracle that happened right before my eyes. That no matter what happens, God is always in control. Just like the theme of this WYD2011: “Planted and Built-up in Christ, Firm in the Faith.” This World Youth Day 2011 was really my most unforgettable experience in my life. I always thank God for giving me this kind of privilege in my life. One thing that I learned during this journey: When God wills it, it will always happen. He will always put things in order and He will always keep His promise just hold on to Him and be firm with your faith. Right now, even though that the situation of my family is still the same, I keep on praying that someday, God will answer all of our prayers. He revealed this to me and I know and I believe He will also reveal Himself to my family. Thank You Lord, thank you for using CFCFFL and other people as your instrument to make this experience possible.