Sunday, August 21, 2011

WYD 2011 Storm

It's now official--even though our Madrid accomodations had air-conditioning, I'm a full-fledged member of the World Youth Day fraternity, entitled to the secret handshake and all! All I need is the T-shirt: "I got soaked at WYD."

It wasn't the first experience of hardship: we arrived at the site of the vigil and Mass with the Pope to find our allocated section was full--overbooked by 300. We literally had nowhere to lay our heads, (More on that in the next post.)

Then we (well, mostly I) discover that the toilets are as few as they are far away. Outrageously bad planning. On the other hand, lots of food in our "picnic packs," which four of us collected for the group.

As we headed back with our heavy load, we came across a poor lady who had collected the same number of picnic sacks and was unable to carry them. Our young adults sized up the situation much quicker than I, and we divided her load between us--just as the wind began to blow a la the opening scene of "The Wizard of Oz," followed swiftly by lashing rain.

The first gusts blew the Holy Father's zuchetto (beanie) right off his head, and his hairstyle looked something like Harry Potter's for a few moments.

The prayer vigil had to stop because of the tempest, but after about ten minutes or so someone said from on stage "The rain has really slowed down. Pray some more and it will stop!" We did, and it did!

For the rest of the evening we had just some occasional showers. I slept in a waterproof sack which was large enough to hold my backpack, another pilgrim's backpack, and my runners, the only articles of clothing I bothered to remove.

Throughout there was nothing but cheerfulness and acceptance: really a living lesson in how to maintain peace of heart--and of the power of WYD.

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