Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Trip to Spain (Part 6) - Wednesday

Today, the US Bishops put on a great event. We had two hours of Catechism and a mass in English. Bishop Smith of Edmonton led this, and I wish I had brought this notebook along with me, so I could have take notes. It was great to be in an all-English environment again, after a week of Spanish. Spanish isn't that bad, though. Madrid Spanish is a lot easier to speak than I expected.  Everyone warned me that I wouldn't be able to communicate with my Mexican Spanish, but that's not the case.

After lunch, we had an eight hour vocations fair, at a local Jesuit building. We probably could have filled a place twice as large. I think everyone agreed that Fr. Robert Barron's speech was the highlight of the event. I liked the speech from the singer woman best, because she was very emotional about God's love for her. I also liked seeing our friends from the Diocese of Orange and talking sports with people from all over the United States.

Of course, my personal highlight was meeting with my dad's cousin, Bishop Tom Paprocki, and talking with him for about fifteen minutes.

During the day, we took a break to find some Starbucks. (The other guys really like coffee.) Along the way, we saw a nun, promoting an exhibition on Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. We went to the exhibit after our work at the US event was over. The visit was unplanned, and it was completely worth it. The Missionaries of Charity nuns were all over the exhibit, acting as guides. They had a duplication of Mother Teresa's room, and I'd say about 100 wall-sized informational plaques, in English and Spanish, which covered her entire life. One room was a video room, one area had her English speeches playing on a speaker, and the entrance room was splendid, but two rooms stood out the most to me.

1. The room with her relics. They had her sandals and sari, the most easily recognizable of all her few possessions. They also had duplicates her handwritten letters, her Nobel Peace Prize and her degree from Harvard. On the wall above, they had pictures from all of her meetings with Pope John Paul II, which was about four meetings over thirty years.

Meetings with Pope John Paul II


Duplicate of Mother Teresa's room

One of the large plaques about her life

2. The prayer chapel, with a simple crucifix and a statue of Mary. They had a life-size, fully-colored statue of Mother Teresa, praying there; at first, most people thought it was a real nun who was there praying. There was a bench for people to sit and pray, and there were prayer messages. Let me explain. A box was filled with small scraps of paper, each one with a different quotation from Blessed Teresa written upon it. People were invited to take and keep one; they had boxes for English, Spanish, Italian, French, Polish and so on.

Our group was going to return to the hotel after that, but the hostel we're at is outside Plaza de Sol, the Protest Plaza. A protest rally was scheduled against Spain's government for being corrupt and not helping the 20% unemployment rate (for reference, the US' unemployment rate is at 9%). This protest rally turned into an anti-Pope rally, because Spain spent money to help sponsor World Youth Day. You'd think they would be glad that 100,000 foreigners have poured into their capital city, because all the tourist spending must be making the local economy boom this week. In any case, the rally turned into a riot, like many other of the so-called peaceful protests held in Plaza de Sol. The angry rioters started to attack passing Catholics and anyone they saw wearing a World Youth Day backpack.

So instead of returning home, we had a dinner. Then, we met with our bishop in the US Bishops' Hotel, near the US Embassy. I saw Bishop Tom again, and I introduced him to all our seminarians. He introduced us to Cardinal Francis George. Our bishop treated us to a second dinner, which was good, because the first dinner was scarce. (It was a small salad and a glass of water for eight dollars.)

At the second dinner, I had the "American Dinner", which was interesting. This dinner is specifically targeted towards Americans who are visiting the US Embassy. It was a burger, large fries, burnt corn on the cob, and a huge thing of onion rings. It wasn't that bad of a dinner, but I'd lose the onion rings and the corn on the cob. Also, it'd be more "American" if the hamburger came on a bun.

The riot died down by the time dinner was over, partially because there was a big soccer game that was showing on TV. Barcelona is in the playoffs, or something like that. So, thankfully, no one from our group was hurt in the plaza riot, and nobody was badly injured.


Anonymous said...

A riot! Ohhh.... (faint)

Anonymous said...

Wow, multiple relics of Mother Teresa!

Flashman85 said...


Also, sentence alert: "The visit was unplanned, and it completely worth it"

Anonymous said...

Arglefumph, I watch your videos, think you are sooo irridicousuly and
unbelievably hilarious!!!!
Anyway,(wait, am I commeting on your Spain Trip?)I wanted to know if you had a Faceook page. I mea I know you don't but I think you should make one!! Anyway.....Fare Thee Well
P.s. Me and my sister watch haha140 or something's arglefumphs funniest moments and die laughing!! and sarcasm burns, its so funny!
P.s.s. How did u come up with "Arglefumph" as a name??
~Ruthie Di Sipio