Today, World Youth Day official started at 8:00 PM. Thousands of people poured into the city of Madrid today. Mostly, we spent the day meeting with other groups of pilgrims. Our group just parked ourselves outside Starbucks and watched groups go by.
We have a US flag and a California flag, so people were able to tell where we are from. Most of the foreigners seemed to know how to do the USA chant, and they would chant it at us while passing by. We saw groups from Spain, France, Germany, the UK, the US, Italy, Russian, Mexico, Korea, the Philippines, Prague, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, China, South Africa and more countries that we couldn't recognize just from their flags alone.
A woman from NPR saw me with the US flag, so she came up to me and asked if I'd like to do an interview, because I speak English. It was a nice interview, which was about five minutes long. I was pretty excited about being on All Things Considered, but unfortunately, my interview ended up being cut from the final news report. There were about five names on the interview list; I guess they didn't have enough time in the segment to use clips from all the interviewees.
The group went to Burger King for lunch and VIPS for dinner. VIPS is the Spanish TGI Fridays. I know it sounds weird coming from me, Mr. Picky Eater, but I don't think we should eat so much American food in Spain. Let's try some Spanish food! I'm trying to order something new I don't know about at every meal.
The opening mass had, I would guess, over 10,000 people attending. We got as close as possible to the main area, which was close enough to kinda see all the Bishops. Next time, I say we forget about getting close, and we just park ourselves in front of one of the big TV screens, so we can watch it and see what's happening. One of the screens was right behind/beside us tonight, we couldn't see it.
Mass was two hours long, and it was in Spanish and Latin. That totally threw me off, especially because I tend to mix up those two languages already, when praying the Our Father or Hail Mary. I start off the prayer in one language, and I finish praying it in the other. So eventually, our group decided to say the mass responses in English. Most of the pilgrims who don't know Spanish said the responses in their native languages, too.
All in all, today was a good day, because it was another "off" day, where we got to relax somewhat. The pacing was much different than the hurried trips to Barcelona and the local churches and such. I got to do more shopping, because I realized just now that I should buy things here for my priest friends, not just my family and parishioner friends.