July 3 2011
A WYD Prayer Newsletter
The Road to Madrid A faith journey for those who go & those who stay at home
A service from
Issue 1 First of a series of six newsletters
A WYD Prayer Newsletter
The Road to Madrid
In this issue SECTION 1: FOOD FOR PILGRIMS Prayers & reflections to sustain pilgrims as they travel the inner journey – on the road to Madrid or at home.
Santa María la Real de La Almudena, Cathedral, Madrid (built 1883 – 1993)
A Pilgrim’s Prayer Lord Jesus, I thank you for this opportunity to travel to Madrid for World Youth day. Help me to prepare for this great adventure. Open my heart to your presence as I travel, meeting other pilgrims and taking in the culture of Spain. Open my heart to your love so that I may be filled with generosity, ready to support others in their journey, and ready to respond to your call in my life.
SECTION 2: WORLD YOUTH DAY Experiences from earlier WYDs and tips for getting the most out of WYD at home or abroad
Open my heart to your Spirit so I may be guided along paths of Truth and Love in union with God the Father. Amen
Next issue Going online to God 3
SECTION 1: FOOD FOR PILGRIMS Pilgrimage involves two journeys Some of us will have the good fortune to go to Madrid. Most of us will be at home. For those who go to Madrid, there is a double journey. First, there is the physical journey by plane to Madrid. Secondly, there is the inner journey, the unfolding discovery of self, and the deepening of one’s relationship with God. Even if we don’t go to Madrid, we still need to undertake the second journey. The Road to Madrid aims to provide sustenance for both groups as they travel the inner journey.
A Prayer for Those Not Going to Madrid Lord Jesus, I thank you for the gift of life, the gift of my body, senses and intelligence, for the gift of my family, all the other gifts and most of all the gift of knowing you. I rejoice with those who will be going to Madrid. I pray that they will be kept safe in their journeying and be filled with your many blessings. I pray that I may join in their pilgrimage in spirit becoming more aware of your presence within and growing in my desire to be more like you. Through being part of their journey, help me to come to a deeper knowledge of myself and to a deeper relationship with you. Amen.
How can we grow spiritually? Today’s world is a noisy, noisy environment. External stimuli crowd our minds with news, images, sound, and a constant flow of communication from friends, strangers, and advertisers. If we are to discover ourselves, we need to take time out – to step back from all the noise. Only then will we become aware of ourselves and what is happening within. So the first step in growing as a spiritual person is to find time, either in Madrid or at home, when we can be alone – taking time to enjoy the experience of ‘being’ and sensing the loving companionship of God. 4
Getting to know Jesus better Our Christian faith is a relationship with Jesus Christ who is our Lord and saviour, our brother and constant companion. A good way to get to know Jesus better is to listen to the way he spoke about himself – frequently it was in terms of ‘life’! Only through Jesus can we discover, and attain, the fullness of life! Jesus said: • ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ • ‘I am the bread of life.’ • ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’ • ‘I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.’ Prayer:
‘Lord Jesus, open my mind and heart to your loving guidance strengthen me and lead me into the fullness of life!’
Faith brings the knowledge that I am loved! Nothing I ever do will make God love me more. Nothing I ever do will make God love me less. Champions of the Faith: Saint John of the Cross
One of the Patron Saints of WYD Madrid 2011 The writings of Saint John of the Cross are considered to be literary masterpieces. Some people even learn Spanish just so they can read his poetry and prose. An outstanding human being, he suffered grievously at the hands of his brother monks who imprisoned him for nine months in a narrow, stifling cell. With St Teresa of Avila he founded the Discalced (reformed) Carmelites. His writings reveal profound mystical expressions and insights. He was an exceptional guide in leading others to union with God through prayer and the contemplative life. He is recognised as a Doctor of the Church and his incorrupt body is held at Segovia. In his poem, the Living Flame of Love, St John of the Cross wrote: How gently and lovingly you wake in my heart, where in secret you dwell alone; and in your sweet breathing, filled with good and glory, how tenderly you swell my heart with love.
SECTION 2: WYD – EXPERIENCES & TIPS Drawing inspiration from WYD Paris The Theme for WYD Paris: When Jesus met his first disciples, as described in John’s Gospel, his opening words were, ‘What do you want?’ (John 1:38) They answered, ‘Teacher, where are you staying?’ Jesus replied, ‘Come and see.’ It was a quiet, gentle invitation – which spoke to the depths of their hearts and changed their lives forever. And these words became the theme for WYD in Paris in 1996.
Baptised at WYD Paris For two years Megan Costello, from Utah, USA, had been visiting various churches, looking for one that felt right. The Catholic Church had felt like the place she belonged, and now, with nearly a million young people from around the world looking on, she was about to be baptized. Megan held her breath as Pope John Paul II approached her. Before she knew it, the Pope was pouring a large measure of cool water over her head, drenching her as he said, ‘Je te baptise au nom du Père, et du Fils et du Saint-Esprit.’
Inspiring words of Pope John Paul II in Paris..... ‘Youth of the whole world, it is along the paths of daily life that you can meet the Lord! Do you remember how the disciples, hurrying to the banks of the Jordan to listen to the last of the great prophets, John the Baptist, saw Jesus of Nazareth pointed out to them as the Messiah, the Lamb of God? ‘Out of curiosity they decided to follow him at a distance. They were shy almost and embarrassed, until, turning round, He asked them: "What do you seek?" So began the dialogue that would give rise to the adventure of John, Andrew, Simon Peter and the other apostles........ ‘Dear young people, like the first disciples, follow Jesus! Do not be afraid to draw near to Him, to cross the threshold of his dwelling, to speak with Him, face to face, as you talk with a friend. Do not be afraid of the new life He is offering. He Himself makes it possible for you to receive that life and practise it, with the help of his grace and the gift of his Spirit.’
And then she breathed again, taking a huge gulp of air as the crowd cheered. The Pope continued: ‘God acknowledges you as his children and transforms your existence into a story of love with him. Live from now on as children of the light who know they are reconciled by the Cross of the Saviour.’
WYD Paris - Robyn Gallagher reflects on her experience WYD Paris in 1997 was my first trip to Europe. I was in my mid-20's and teaching full time, so the possibility of attending seemed uncertain. Yet my Principal supported and encouraged me and made leave available. After some initial travels I met up with the Australian contingent and my French family with whom I would be billeted. They were such a beautiful family who showed us amazing hospitality. Apart from my calling the father of the house Herbert for two days (his name was Robert) the time spent with them was a one of the most profound parts of my experience. What happened! As I recall the events of the week I am filled with images of colour, music, movement and some stillness. The WYD theme in Paris was "Lord, where do you live?" "Come and see!" There were opportunities to explore this question personally and to hear different perspectives on its application. One of the most moving talks I recall was given by Jean Vanier, the founder of the L'Arche communities. He recounted the story of the Australian Olympic runner, John Landy, who stopped mid-race to check on a fellow runner, Ron Clarke, who had fallen. Vanier spoke about this gesture of solidarity and about the competing demands of competition/power and love in our world today. Vanier looked to the person of Jesus as someone who challenged these competitive notions and who had a great love for humanity and unity. The Pope's welcome of people from all countries and all religions at the final Mass was also very moving. I felt enlivened by this inclusiveness and by his encouragement! What WYD Paris meant for me Throughout my experience in Paris my eyes were opened to a much bigger world and Church, and with that an increased responsibility to be more aware. Arriving back in Australia six months later, I had a strong desire to become more actively involved in ministry with young adults. I was fortunate that a position arose and I was able to combine my teaching with this work. It was the beginning of a new career and a time of much growth. Whilst I greatly valued my experience in Paris, I have come to understand that there are different faith experiences that will resonate for different people. When I think about the most profound moments during WYD I would have to say it was the smaller, quieter moments which meant the most. A few minutes of stillness before a Mass began, some wise words shared in conversation, observing a piece of artwork and some personal times of prayer. I recognise that I am personally more drawn to the smaller group experiences of prayer, meditation or social action and yet see the value in the larger gatherings. And today as I continue to travel, whilst not physically, I endeavour to discover ways to connect with our loving God and to live out my faith with authenticity. 7
Tips for Madrid pilgrims Sites Pilgrimage Group Language
The culture and architecture of Spain is fascinating. Discover as much as you can of the history before you go, so you will understand more of what you see. The value in being part of a WYD pilgrimage group lies in the companionship and the support it offers through fellow pilgrims and trained leaders. It helps ensure that WYD will be safer, more deeply spiritual and more enjoyable. Special WYD lessons with Camilo at: http://www.aoy.org.au/ Useful Spanish Phrases: a) http://www.fodors.com/language/spanish/ b) http://www.randomhouse.com/livinglanguage/Audio-
Firm in the Faith, a collection of four new songs for WYD Madrid. CD $15 from CEO Sydney. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tips for pilgrims at home Pilgrimage Prayer Diocese Companion Culture Language
Recognise that you can be part of the WYD Pilgrimage even though you will not be there physically. Through prayer you can connect with those who are going to Madrid, as well as with those who, like yourself, will be part of WYD at a distance. Find out what is happening in your own Diocese before, during, and after WYD. See if you can find someone who is going to Madrid – and offer to share the pilgrimage with them in spirit. Learn something of Spain’s history and culture – as well as the current political, social and economic situation. Find a Spanish restaurant and enjoy their food. Try your hand at learning some Spanish – see suggestions above!
This newsletter can be photocopied. It can also be found under the caption WYD Madrid Prayer Newsletter on the CathNews website at wwww.cathnews.com. Our thanks go to all those who have contributed to the preparation of this series, especially Lisa Bright, Sarah Coppola, Robyn Gallagher, Chris Nolan, Bernadette Toohey – Anthony Neylan, Editor
Nos vemos luego! (See you later!) 8