ATTENTION, WYD Pilgrims: While you’re in Madrid, do yourself a favor, and try the incredibly delicious, air-cured “Iberian Ham.”
Meanwhile Archbishop Chaput recalls WYD ’93, in Colorado:
Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, my friend and predecessor as archbishop of Denver, hosted World Youth Day in August 1993, and he still likes to tell the following story.
One of his staffers had just moved to Colorado from a much larger and higher crime city on the West Coast. The man was driving his family home late one evening, when the street— four lanes wide—was suddenly blocked by a huge mob of teens swarming out of the dark. As urban panic kicked in, and he threw the car in reverse, his wife helpfully pointed out that the kids were … singing a Marian hymn.
The “mob” turned out to be hundreds of French World Youth Day pilgrims walking back to their parish sleeping quarters. It was a moment of grace—unexpected, implausible and beautiful—and similar moments of grace happened again and again all over the city during those extraordinary days.
Yes, I suspect the mobs of Madrid will be a high contrast to the “mobs” we’re seeing in the rest of the world. That’s a nice article, so read the whole thing. This afternoon, the Landing Page will be featuring a piece on that same gathering, and another, by Sister Mary Ann Walsh.
One story I recall reading from that event was about the arrival of Pope John Paul II, who was hovering over the stadium in a chopper. Supposedly the cheers and crowds were so loud, the chopper pilot said the force of their feeling made the landing trickier than usual.
Please pray for me, pilgrims, and my intentions. I have a big one that will need lots of prayers!