A day for cultural and liturgical festivities in Madrid

By Sara Angle
One in a series

MADRID — I spent a lot of time at the Life and Love center this afternoon, floating between events. The English-speakers home is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and Sisters of Life and being housed in Madrid’s main indoor sports arena. The building is a maze, and I got frustrated trying to find where I wanted to be!

I had quite a comical experience running AWAY from the Eucharist there, too.

I was trying to get to the Adoration Chapel for Eucharist adoration with Archbishop Dolan of N.Y., but had to make it there before the Eucharist did! Let’s just say that those priests were booking it!

Afterward, I had the chance to interview Archbishop Dolan (look for a CNS video soon.) He seems so excited to be here and didn’t know about the Forgiveness Festival (tons of portable confessionals set up in Madrid’s largest park,) but said he would like to go there for confession this week.

One of the big cultural events of the day was the Cinema Festival, which took place in Madrid’s theater district. I caught “The Gardener of God,” a film about the life of Fr. Gregor Mendel, who is played by Christopher Lambert. The theater was packed with people from all different countries, but the film played in English with Spanish subtitles. It was really interesting to learn about Mendel’s life as a priest, because I really only knew about his scientific legacy. The Father of Genetics was a religious father to so many.

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.

Art and adventures in a Spanish grocery store

By Sara Angle
One in a series

MADRID — The Reina Sofia contemporary art museum was mind-blowing! It is the perfect way to start my day, as the crowds were thin and it woke up my senses, as beauty tends to do.

On the way to the museum, I read the “Habemus Papam!” manga comic book that was in my pilgrim “mochila.” It was a very quick read, but light, fun and informative. I wasn’t aware of the fear Joseph Ratzinger had about becoming pope before the decision was made. According to the comic, he prayed to God that he not be made pope because he thought he was too old. He put his trust in God though, and answered the call to become pope.

The last line of the comic reads, “Never doubt that placing your confidence in Him, the unimaginable will become possible.”

When I arrived at the Reina Sofia, I set off to see works by Dali, Miro, Picasso and Sonia and Robert Delaunay.

There were a few temporary exhibitions as well, and I found myself drawn to the work of Yayoi Kusama, a female Japanese avant-garde sculptor and painter. Gentle Are the Stairs to Heaven is a painting so beautiful I wish I could turn it into a dress! Instead, it will have to do as the new background on my iPhone.

One of Kusama’s installation pieces, created specifically for the Reina Sofia, made me feel like I was inside of a sci-fi movie, or among a room filled with fireworks!

My next stop was a walk to Plaza Mayor, where I witnessed some Spanish-speaking pilgrims playing games and singing in the center of the square.

I made my way to Puerto del Sol where I wanted to take a look inside El Cortes Inglese, one of Madrid’s main department stores. Going to places that locals frequent is my way of getting to know the people of a culture. It hasn’t failed me yet!

I did a quick browse of all the departments, and let me tell you—this place is a one-stop shop. It’s like a multi-level upscale mini-mall. It has all the typical sections of a department store, but also a restaurant, take-away café, souvenir shop, travel agency, bakery, auto body shop, bookstore, media department and supermarket.

I spent some time walking through the aisles of the grocery store and picking out some unknown foods to try later. They had an entire aisle dedicated to olives! The Spanish really do love their olives…I’ve had them served to me at every meal, but I’m not complaining!

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.

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