A lesson from Pope Benedict, dinner with the U.S. bishops

By Sara Angle
One in a series

MADRID — Most of my day was spent waiting hours for the arrival of the pope. I was told that some pilgrims arrived at Plaza de Cibeles for the pope’s entrance over 8 hours before he was expected!

If there is one thing I have learned at WYD thus far, it is to practice the virtue of patience.

The anticipation was palpable all through the day at Cibeles, and to pass the time people were playing cards, taking naps, doing the Macarena, throwing beach balls and doing the wave. I had to remind myself I was at WYD, not a college football game!

The long awaited moment finally came, and the party-like atmosphere faded into solemnity as Pope Benedict took the microphone to address the pilgrims. After greeting everyone in 6 languages, there was Gospel reading and then the pope spoke about the reading in Spanish.

His words were poetic and careful, but powerful. He advocated turning to the Bible as the source of truth, saying, “There are words which serve only to amuse, as fleeting as an empty breeze; others, to an extent, inform us; those of Jesus, on the other hand, must reach our hearts, take root and bloom there all our lives.”

I thought this was such an incredible explanation of how the Bible should fit into our everyday lives, and give us the ability to “build on solid rock.”

The hours of waiting were over quickly, as the welcoming celebration with Pope Benedict lasted exactly one hour.

After the ceremony, I received an unexpected but welcome invitation; the chance to attend dinner with the 64 U.S. bishops that are in Madrid for WYD.

One of the big things about WYD is encounter God through encountering others. At dinner, I sat beside the bishop of the Diocese of Austin and though our conversation was not profound, it was lighthearted and congenial. I felt that connection that WYD is all about, and after a long day of waiting, I could simply sit and enjoy the presence of those around me.

On a final note of the day, I would like to say that despite many media reports about WYD protestors, Madrid is not running rampant with anti-WYD advocates. Although I have heard some talk of people witnessing protestors, the presence of Christ is much stronger this week than any opponents. Even if there are protests, the chants of “Benedicto!” are drowning them out.

Sara Angle, 21, is a senior at Villanova University and has written for CNS from Rome and Washington. She enjoys traveling and soaking up the culture of her surroundings, be it through food, fashion or faith, and looks forward to covering WYD for CNS — from the big events to the off-beat adventures. Sara loves reading and writing (but not arithmetic) and dancing like no one is watching. You can also follow her on Twitter @CatholicNewsSvc. She’ll be using the hashtag #SaraInMadrid.

3 Responses

  1. Let us pray that if there were protestors, they did not miss ‘the hour of their visitation’ by the Vicar of Christ on earth who also prays for them, indeed all of us, daily. Vivia el Papa!

  2. Sara, You are in my prayers as you spend this time at World Youth Day.
    God Bless,
    Fr. Joe Farrell, osa

  3. Viva el Papa,Viva la Jornada Mundial de Juventud.

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