Feastday of the Blessed Mannes, O.P. (brother of St. Dominic). Many of the Sisters spent the day at the Palacio de Deportes where they volunteered for several hours, greeting pilgrims as they arrived for Mass and the various events being hosted. some of these included catechesis sessions, praise and worship, and Eucharistic Adoration throughout the day. The “Vocations Cafe” has been highly visited through the days, and it has been impressive to see many different priests and religious from within the United States as well as from various countries.
In the evening, thousands of young people gathered throughout the streets of Madrid along the route of our Holy Father’s entry into the City from the Barrajas International Airport to the Plaza de Cibelles. Some of the Sisters were blessed to be directly in front of where the papal motorcade was passing, and got an up close and personal view of the Holy Father. At one point he looked directly at the Sisters and extended his blessing. Such was the enthusiasm of the moment that the Sisters kept some of the police barrier tape as a souvenir.
It was a moving moment to watch the Holy Father enter the city through the arches which no one ever uses. This was a symbolic act of welcome, and it was there that the mayor of Madrid handed the keys of the city to Pope Benedict XVI. Then two young people, representing the thousands of pilgrims present, handed over to the Holy Father the city of Madrid – capital of the entire world’s youth. A spontaneous cheer erupted: “Esta es la juventud del Papa…” (All the world’s youth belong to the pope) repeated continually.
After the evening’s event, the streets and metro stations were flooded with young people singing and cheering in various languages their love for the pope. There were even some musicians at the metro station playing Pachelbel Canon as professionally as if they were on a stage. A lovely tribute to the contagious joy in the city of Madrid at this time.