We finish today again very tired, dirty, hot.....and joyful. It was another beautiful day in which we received many graces and experienced again the beauty and the power of being Church.
Our day began again by gathering again at our parish after another night in our homes. Again, everyone arrived very well-fed and well-loved. We headed off to the morning catechesis session at the Palacio de los Deportes, a large area in which was housed the Love and Life Center. This arena, run by the Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus, was the home for English speaking pilgrims - over 12,000 of them. The morning session featured two talks - one by Cardinal Pell from Australia and the other by a Sister of Life - and Mass. Cardinal Pell spoke about faith and reason, and Sister spoke about our call to change the world through our faith and witness. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Pell, and concelebrated by over 30 bishops (including Bishop Noonan from Orlando who we saw after the Mass) and 300 preists from around the English speaking world. In the afternoon, we stayed for one of the featured talks by Curtis Martin, who exhorted us to seek greatness and holiness by living each present moment with our last moment and eternity in mind.
We then proceded to the Prado Museum, which has been opened to all the WYD pilgrims. It was very special to visit this world-renowned art museum and to see first-hand some of the most beautiful works of art in man's history. We were all moved to see the original painting of Deigo Velazquez of Christ crucified, whose replica hangs as the primary crucifix of the Cathedral of Peoria. As well, there were many other famous works of the Blessed Mother and the Saints.
After dinner, we visited the Parque del Retiro, a beautiful park in the center of the city, which can be compared to Central Park in NY. After walking around for a while, we attended a concert for the WYD pilgrims in the Park in which all the pilgrims enjoyed singing and dancing together.
In general, the day was filled with great joy, as we were constantly surrounded by excited youth from all around the world. More than anything, there continues to be a great sense of the power of seeing the young universal Church so alive with life and joy. All the students continue to enjoy interacting, singing and speaking with one another. There seem to be no language barriers.....because all speak the common language of the Church: Love. May it always be spoken.......