World Youth Day Diary: Arrival of Pope Benedict XVI

Pictures from the World Youth Day Pilgrimage are available here

Liverpool's World Youth Day Pilgrims travelled from the Diocese of Ciudad Real to Madrid last Monday, here they tell of the first few days in the Spanish capital and the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI.

Tuesday 16 August

We spent some time in Retiro Park in Madrid at the Vocations fair, meeting and talking to various Religious Orders from around the world was a wonderful experience.
The World Youth Day opening Mass was celebrated by the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal  Antonio María Rouco Varela, in the evening. There were over 500 000 other young people there!

Wednesday 17 August

After and early start and Morning Prayer together we went to a catechesis session at the Madrid arena for English speaking pilgrims, we listened to various speakers and we were led in a brilliant praise and worship session by Jesse Manibusan.  After Lunch we split into groups and had the choice of a Taize evening or a concert based around the joy of World Youth Day.  The concert was standing room only with over 12,000 other pilgrims there.  The atmosphere was indescribable

Thursday 18 August

Today again we enjoyed another Catechesis session with a truly inspirational talk about how to live a chaste life and not be ashamed of it.
In the evening we all prepared ourselves to welcome the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, to Madrid as over 1.5 million pilgrims gathered to celebrate his arrival.  It was amazing to see him face to face.