Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pilgrimage Day

Reflection by Leslee

Well, Pilgrimage Day is here!!! We made it to the air field - Section E3. We have a jumbotron in front of us and a roadway behind us and beside us - hoping maybe it will be one of the roads the Pope will travel. Oops! Time out...OK I'm back.

(Here's the aside. And a disclaimer - she is OK.) Joanne has just developed a new way (and very effective I might add) to meet the attractive young Italians next to us. An anixety attack, mixed with the amazing heat of the day and whammo - down she goes.

Three young Italian gentlemen began fanning her, holding her hands and providing water. They even supplied a great air mattress for her to "rest" upon. After 20 minutes or so of fanning, hand and foot massaging, Mentos to bring up her sugar level, a visit from the WYD volunteers for their assessment of whether medical treatment was necessary as she was beginning to regain her stamina. Just so you know - in the mist of all this attention - she looks at me and with speech like having a mouth full of cotton, saids "You have to include this in you blog." I said "OK" - subtitled: "How Joanne meets the Italian." I do foresee a facebook friendship or two. Wow, this kept us busy while we waiting for the Pope.

As I continue this blog, I am watching the jumbotron with the WYD cross being brought to Pope Benedict. He is listening to the youth of the world offering their faith stories and asking him questions. It is starting to rain abit. Mmm...this truly is a pilgrimage not a vacation.

So let's backup to this morning we celebrated Mass at the Basillica of San Francisco. Cardinal Sean was the presider. This church was magnificant. As we sang, our voices resounded throughout. It is fantastic to hear the rising of their voices in song. Prior to the Mass, we placed our parish banner at the altar and prayed for our parishioners.

Due to the heat, the group was offered a choice to do the walk or stay at the hotel and watch coverage on the TV. Two of the group elected to stay at the hotel and ten of us ventured off.

The heat was incredible - water, water, water. Once we arrived and found our section we knew we would be taking the Metro back rather than walking. We gathered our food and checked out the lay of the land.

Finally Pope Benedict arrived and began the evening's Benediction service. Oops, another interuption - a downpour but it was annouced that the Pope would wait out the rain. And he did. Adoration and Benediction was celebrated. The Monstrance was totally unbelievable - gold, ornate and huge. The youth of the world, the crowd, was present and silent in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. And then the rains came. High winds took down the roofs of several of the chapel areas and the huge jumbotron in front of us actually turned sideways. The high winds swirled the sand and grit all around us, at us and into us. Power outages occured. Everytime it stopped and we cleaned up, it would rain again. Finally we just gave in and went to sleep on wet mats with whatever covers we had. Oh yes, we are on a pilgrimage - not a vacation. "Holy Father, the youth of the Church are here."


  1. That's my girl!

  2. Sorry if this is a repeat. Don't know if the last one got in!?!
    Great reflection, Leslee, and great photos to match! Saw the monstrance on TV. Amazing! Old world meets new and future church! Said a few xtra prayers for all of you that you'd survive the night. The hotel must have felt really comfy after that! God bless! MsDolliver

  3. My first thought was, "not a great picture of Joanne". Thanks for the health update, Leslee. To Joanne, "Eat and stay hydrated!" : )

    What a memorable pilgrimage you are having! Thank you for your reflection, Leslee!