Thursday we went to a lovely church, San Teresa y San Jose. It was a nice little walk through a quiet neighborhood and downhill most the way. Despite an earlier start, we arrived at a point where we were in the balcony. With heat and acoustics, it made for a difficult setting- which was unfortunate. We could not sear and hearing was not easy with various English accents. We had Aussie facilitators and a Philippine bishop.
The Bishop was a pretty good guy. He made a Justin Bieber joke early on. He described WYD as am expression of faith where the Spirit of God gathers young people to encourage each other and share their experiences.
The bulk of his teaching was regarding a Spiritual IPOD
– I for an Interior experience of Inferiority to Christ. We are not larger than the Lord
– P for the placing oneself in the Presence of God in Prayer. He recalled that St. Teresa described prayer as a friendly conversation with someOne I know Who loves me.
– O for Obedience to the Other. Basically, the message was (although not his words) Shawshank Redemption like… ie, Get busy living your eternal life with the Lord or Get busy dying only dying for only yourself.
– D for Devotion to Duty in service to the Lord.
The bishop suggested three C’s block up the younger generation from this stuff: Is it Convenient? Is it Comfortable? Is there Cash involved?
In the QandA, he was asked about how we handle the struggles of faith, and he asked that we default to the reminder from Jesus to “Be not afraid.” Later, he described sin as “missing the mark” and encouraged us to always improve our aim.
We left the Church and immediately proceeded to the downtown location of all the action of WYD events. We improved our opening mass position my about five blocks, significantly overcoming half our previous distance to the main stage. We had a good shot at a screen, sound was clear, and we could actually see the stage. But, none of that was the story.
We got there early enough to camp out a little and recline. Eventually, more and more folks crowed into our area over the five hours of our stay. We made some friends and still sometimes wondered why France is allowed to exist as a people or a culture. The WYD continually spritzed us with water cannons to keep us cool.
But, when the Pope arrived, he went past our position TWICE…! Travelling slowly in the Popemobile, he passed by us no more than twelve feet away. The long wait was very worth it. We stayed for prayer (oddly, others left… which was kinds missing the whole point, mon ami from France) and then made our way after a long hot day for a late dinner (which is something from the Spanish schedule that has messed with my own system) and sleep. (Video graciously provided by Matt and Will)