Inspiration in Madrid — Tony Melendez and Pope Benedict

By Emma Luigard
One in a series

MADRID — Today will always stand in my mind as one of the greatest days of World Youth Day. Not only did I meet people from all over, but I got to see the pope and an inspiring performance.

Tony Melendez. He’s a singer and guitarist, sounds pretty normal right?

Well here’s the catch: He has no arms, so he plays the guitar with his feet. Tony shared his devotion and love of God with us. He got us to not only listen but participate by singing and dancing along. Tony is an inspiration not only because of the physical obstacles he’s overcome but also because he chooses to spread the word of God in a way that truly touches the heart.

Pope Benedict XVI arrived today and once again I found myself shoulder to shoulder with millions of strangers. We waited three hours for the pope to arrive but there was never a dull moment. We danced with fellow pilgrims to a drum beat provided by another pilgrim and mingled with Brazilians, Italians, Germans and others.

When Pope Benedict finally arrived the air was filled with cheers in many different languages. Seeing the pope — even if it was only on the Jumbotron — was by far my favorite part of the day. His presence here in Madrid with truly uplifting.

Emma Luigard, 16, will be a senior at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, Md. The member of St. Bernadette Parish, traveling with St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, said she is “excited for World Youth Day because it will be full of cultural and religious experiences.”

One Response

  1. I was in the Universal amphitheater,Hollywood with students from Crespi Carmelite High School, Encino, the afternoon when JPII did a 5 way teleconference with youth. at the end, Tony Melendez played his guitar with his feet. JPII jumped off the stage to hug, kiss and bless him. It was an electric moment I will never forget. Fr. John Comerford, O. Carm.

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