July 27, 2011
Amarillo—Life these days is fast and furious for Diocesan Youth Director Oscar Guzman. And for good reason.
Guzman is taking care of the final few details for a diocesan delegation of 53 pilgrims who will be attending World Youth Day in Madrid next month.
“I’m trying to make sure I get all these people to Madrid and safely back to Amarillo,” he said. “All the paperwork is finished and everything has been paid in full.”
The group heading to Madrid will meet on Saturday, July 30 at 6pm at the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate Convent, 4301 Northeast 18th St. to finalize travel plans for Madrid.
“We’ll meet for two hours to finalize plans, hand out t-shirts and tickets and check passports,” said Guzman. “We’ll also remind them what to pack, to make sure the right items are being packed. It’s important to double check that everyone knows exactly what they need to have to travel in Europe. There are a few who have never traveled abroad before and have questions.”
Guzman said the group is very excited.
“The people I’ve talked to are very excited,” he said. “We hope to have a good time and learn new things. It will be refreshing when we learn what Bishop (Patrick J.) Zurek and other Bishops and Cardinals will teach us. I’m sure I’ll also learn something new from Pope Benedict XVI’s homily at the closing Mass.”
For Guzman, this will be his fifth time to attend World Youth Day. Is the excitement still there after all these celebrations?
“The excitement is there,” said Guzman. “Our group has shared stories about the Vigil and the Mass with the participants from past World Youth Days that have impacted the faith of those who attended.
“I still remember in Canada in July 2002 -- it had been raining all day long. Blessed John Paul II came forward to begin the closing Mass; he began with a blessing: ‘In the Name of the Father and of the Son…’ with all the love he showed---and the rain stopped. The sun came out and it was amazing. We remember how wet we were and God gave us a little miracle to remind us that He is with us. God always does something and provides a little miracle for us.”
Organizers of this year’s World Youth Day say that the figures for registration and requests to volunteer are higher than ever and auger well for a successful and joyful gathering in Madrid.
Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to attend the event and organizers said they expect more than 1 million young pilgrims to join him.
Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, who leads the Vatican agency organizing the huge event, said that some 440,000 young people had already signed up, a record number for registrations with the event still more than a month away. More than 35,000 young Catholics have applied for one of 22,500 places in the vast volunteer corps, he said.
The pope will spend Thursday, Aug. 18 to Sunday, Aug. 21 in Madrid and will preside over nine major events, including a prayer vigil and a closing Mass. The pope will hear the confessions of several young people, host a group of youths for lunch and lead a Way of the Cross with young people in central Madrid.
It will be the third international World Youth Day encounter for the German pope, who met with young people in 2005 in Cologne, Germany, and in 2008 in Sydney.
The sight of young people going to confession in fields and tents has been a standard part of World Youth Day gatherings, but the Madrid celebration will mark the first time the pope himself will administer the sacrament at the event.
Cardinal Rylko said that one of the “strong points” of the gathering was the opportunity for youth to hear catechesis, and that some 260 bishops would be offering sessions in several different areas of the city in 30 languages. He said he hoped the nearly 14,000 priests expected would take advantage of the opportunity to learn and absorb some of the various lessons for use back in their home parishes.
Here is the schedule for the pope’s trip as released by the Vatican.
Times listed are local, with Central Daylight Time in parentheses.
Thursday, Aug. 18 (Rome, Madrid)
9:30am (2:30am), Departure from Rome’s Ciampino airport.
Noon (5am), Arrival at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport. Speech by the pope.
7:15pm (12:15pm), Walk with several young people at Alcala Gate in Independence Square.
7:30pm (12:30pm), Welcoming ceremony with young people in the Plaza de Cibeles. Speech by the pope.
Friday, Aug. 19 (Madrid, San Lorenzo de El Escorial)
7:30am (12:30am), Private Mass in chapel of apostolic nunciature in Madrid.
10am (3am), Courtesy visit to Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia at Zarzuela Palace.
11:30am (4:30am), Meeting with young women religious in the Courtyard of the Kings at San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Greeting by the pope.
Noon (5am), Meeting with young university professors in the basilica of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Speech by the pope.
1:45pm (6:45am), Lunch with young people in the room of the ambassadors at the apostolic nunciature.
7:30pm (12:30pm), Way of the Cross with young people in the Plaza de Cibeles. Speech by the pope.
Saturday, Aug. 20 (Madrid)
9am (2am), Sacrament of penance with several young people in the Jardines del Buen Retiro.
10am (3am), Mass with seminarians in the Almudena Cathedral. Homily by the pope.
12:45pm (5:45am), Lunch with Spanish cardinals, bishops from Madrid province, auxiliary bishops of Madrid and papal entourage in the cardinal’s residence.
5pm (10am), Meeting with organizing committee of the 26th World Youth Day in the apostolic nunciature.
7:40pm (12:40pm), Visit to the Fundacion Instituto San Jose. Speech by the pope.
8:30pm (1:30pm), Prayer vigil with young people at Madrid’s Cuatro Vientos Airport. Speech by the pope.
Sunday, Aug. 21 (Madrid, Rome)
9:30am (2:30am), Mass for World Youth Day at Cuatro Vientos Airport. Homily by the pope.
Recital of Angelus, with talk by the pope.
12:45pm (5:45am), Lunch with Spanish cardinals and papal entourage in apostolic nunciature.
5pm (10am), Departure from apostolic nunciature.
5:30pm (10:30am), Meeting with World Youth Day volunteers at Pavilion 9 of the new Feria de Madrid. Speech by the pope.
6:30pm (11:30am), Departure ceremony at Barajas International Airport. Speech by the pope.
7pm (Noon), Departure from Madrid’s Barajas International Airport.
9:30pm (2:30pm), Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino airport.
In other World Youth Day news, individuals can make a virtual pilgrimage to World Youth Day (WYD) using a social media tool developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Communications Department.
USCCB has created a Facebook application and a website for non-Facebook users (http://www.virtualworldyouthday.org/ ) where individuals can create an avatar and use it to participate in the virtual pilgrimage.