World Youth Day was celebrated from the 16 August to 21 August 2011, in Madrid, Spain. The theme that was set by The Holy Father was “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ firm in the faith” (Saint Paul).
World Youth Day offers young pilgrims a unique way to deepen their faith and to experience the faith shared amongst other young people. With just about 2 million pilgrims from all over the world, many pilgrims had travelled great distances to celebrate their faith with The Holy Father!
It was amazing to see in the headlines of the Spainish newspapers, the pictures captured of pilgrims with big smiles and with headlines that were joyful of the Catholic Youth Spirit from all around the world.
On Saturday 20 August, pilgrims flocked to Cuatro Vientos, to their designated areas in the hot weather of Madrid, to settle down for the Vigil.
As pilgrims gathered in the blazing heat during the day, as the evening approached pilgrims sat graced upon heavy rain once the heat had subsided. Pilgrims gathered overnight and concluded with mass on the Sunday 21 August to see The Holy Father.
As the heavy storm fell, The Holy Father remained in the rain seemingly unaffected and determined. The Holy Father then returned with the Blessed Sacrament. Amazingly the storm had stopped! “Thank you for your joy and resistance. Your strength is bigger than the rain. The Lord sends you blessings with the rain.” said The Holy Father.
World Youth Day is about the unity amongst pilgrims, remaining firm in the faith during troubled times. The Holy Father had lit the fire of our faith deep upon the hearts of pilgrims, there was a immense feeling of unity amongst the pilgrims, to face all factors to pray to God.
– Shereé Conway, Mariannhill Media