Charlotte's WYD pilgrims excited to see Pope Benedict
MADRID — Pilgrims from the Diocese of Charlotte describe experiencing 'one Catholic family' in crowd full of people from all over the world.
Pictured are: Jennifer Madron, Megan Shelton, Haley Hindes, Anna Mueller, Maria Mueller and Tracy Rafferty from the Diocese of Charlotte.
Tracy Rafferty is one of the pilgrims from the Diocese in Charlotte attending World Youth Day in Madrid. Tracy sent this post via e-mail Friday morning after attending the opening ceremony Thursday afternoon with Pope Benedict XVI in the Plaza de Cibeles:
We waited for eight hours to see the Holy Father (we were in the actual Plaza de Cibeles -- about 500 yards from the altar) and we thought he would be driving about five feet from us, but he ended up using another route (he was still only about 50 yards away)...
Maria Mueller, 19, a student at Belmont Abbey, said, "I am most excited to see the pope drive by and be this close to him. It's a miracle that we got this close! I am really excited for the vigil. It's really exciting to see so many groups laughing and having fun in different languages, all coming together as one to see the pope."
Also, David, a volunteer from Madrid, said, "My objective for volunteering is to encounter Christ through being a volunteer. I am excited to see the pope."
I will add to that -- it truly was a grace-filled day, truly a pilgrimage, with lots of opportunities for sacrifice and prayer. It was really neat that while we were waiting in the hot, sunny plaza, there were programs going on including an engaged couple talking about chastity and an awesome Christian pop music group with two nuns as the lead singers! They said they were going to surprise us and they certainly did!
The volunteers also tossed out bags of water and sprayed down the crowd with a hose... the Italian group next to us really enjoyed the hose and kept begging the volunteer to spray them again.
It was also fun that the Italians and Argentinians and Australians that we were with were all really just one Catholic family, and even if there was some hand motioning in place of language, we just had fun together.
Editor's note: Check out the latest World Youth Day news.
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