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Jornada Mundial de la Juventud Madrid

Testimonies from World Youth Day 2011

Ed, Charis & Sadora      

Ed, who's from near London: "I think it’s very important that young people get together and explore their faith together, as opposed to on their own, because sometimes there are a lot of questions which arise that can remain unanswered. A lot of times people can feel quite isolated, especially when there's no-one to discuss these issues with. So when you have so many people, not just from England but from all over the world, come together and celebrate their faith together, celebrating their love for Christ, Christ's love for us together, especially before the Holy Father who has invited us to go and see him, it's a real boost, it really strengthens you in faith."

Charis, who's from England: "I suppose I didn’t really know what to expect coming to World Youth Day, but I’ve found that I’ve grown a lot closer to God through all the different activities and AMAZING talks there have been. The important thing I thought when I came was like getting to know loads of people and just experiencing all the excitement and everything but I found that what was the really important thing was meeting God in a whole new way and spending time in adoration .. And just seeing the faith and devotion of so many young people has been incredible, so I'd definitely say 'Come to World Youth Day in Brazil'."

Sadora, who's 29 & from America: "My favorite thing about World Youth Day is being with the Holy Father. So for anyone that's never been, it's a way of really uniting yourself not just spiritually but physically also with the Vicar of Christ, and for me that's really powerful. And to share that amongst other Catholics when many times you feel alone in the faith, it's profoundly beautiful. So my favorite thing was the vigil and the Mass with Pope Benedict XVI. My experience has been amazing .. you just get excited about being Catholic. So if you need help in your faith, just to grow in it, please come, come to Rio de Janeiro."

Music - We've Been Made One by Darryll Wilson (1 of the Madrid Me Encanta winners)

Cynthia, James & Edward       

Cynthia, who's 32 & from Argentina: "The World Youth Day was amazing and I couldn't believe there were so many young people here and they all came just to see the Pope and they all share the same faith … Having seen all these people here, it was just like a pre, like how it would be in heaven, everyone worshiping and adoring God."

James, who's from England:"If you've never been to World Youth Day before, I'd really recommend it, it's a fantastic experience. It's really an opportunity to deepen your relationship with Jesus Christ, and to meet other young Catholics and really firm yourself up in the faith and learn more about the Catholic faith."

Edward, who's 22 & from England: "It was such a fantastic experience to see all these young people here for the Pope, here for the Church, here for Jesus, here for the universal Church. There were so many translation barriers but we all had in common: adoration, the Mass, the rosary, the set prayers, praise and worship songs. This was our language, this was the language of the Catholic Church and it was just fantastic to see."

Papa Benedetto XVI: "Cari giovani di lingua italiana! Vi saluto tutti! L’Eucaristia che abbiamo celebrato è Cristo risorto presente e vivo in mezzo a noi: grazie a Lui, la vostra vita è radicata e fondata in Dio, salda nella fede. Con questa certezza, ripartite da Madrid e annunciate a tutti ciò che avete visto e udito. Rispondete con gioia alla chiamata del Signore, seguiteLo e rimanete sempre uniti a Lui: porterete molto frutto!"

Music - Faith in You by Ooberfuse (1 of the Madrid Me Encanta winners)

Matt, Maria, Rosio & Jordi      

Matt, who's 20 & from Wales: "However well formed we are, we can often feel alone if there's no-one around us, so to see that at WYD was for me the best thing I think."

Maria (19) & Rosio (20), cousins from Madrid who were volunteers at JMJ 2011:"The adoration on Saturday night when 2 million young people came to adoration. You looked backwards and saw all these people kneeling down. It was amazing because sometimes we forget that the centre of World Youth Day is to turn our heads and our hearts to Jesus Christ and so it was amazing to see 2 million young people worshipping God there, present in the Eucharist. I think that was the most impressive moment of JMJ. And also seeing that against all the weather conditions, people were still there, worshipping God and singing songs and when the weather was worst, people were singing louder."

Jordi, who's 13 & from Catalonia, Spain: "Bueno pues me gustó mucho todo el ambiente que había de los jóvenes de todo el mundo, y que todo el mundo pudo ver que ni la lluvia ni nada pudo hacer que nos fuéramos de ahí, de ver al papa, y que a pesar de la lluvia y de todo lo mojado pues seguimos ahí con la esperanza de que al otro día siguiente habría la misa del papa y podríamos escuchar más la llamada de Dios."

Papa Benedicto XVI: "Queridos jóvenes, hemos vivido una aventura juntos. Firmes en la fe en Cristo habéis resistido la lluvia. Antes de marcharme, deseo daros las buenas noches a todos. Que descanséis bien. Gracias por el sacrificio que estáis haciendo y que no dudo ofreceréis generosamente al Señor. Nos vemos mañana, si Dios quiere, en la celebración eucarística. Os espero a todos. Os doy las gracias por el maravilloso ejemplo que habéis dado. Igual que esta noche, con Cristo podréis siempre afrontar las pruebas de la vida. No lo olvidéis. Gracias a todos."

Teresa, Miguel & Concha      
(en español)

Teresa, 19 y de España: "Lo que me impresiono mas de la JMJ fue ver el carino que tiene el Papa hacia los jovenes y ver pues todo gracias a que era el aniversario de Galicia y ver que tantos jovenes compartimos la misma fe."

Miguel, 18 y de España: "Pues siendo voluntario me sorprendio mucho muchisimo lo buena que era la gente de tantos paises que vanian gente de tantos, tantos paises incluso paises con persecusione a los cirtianos tanta gente y fueron todos tan amables y tan agradecidos con los voluntarios, lo bien que nos trataron, asi que da gusto trabajar, porque a pesar de dormir poco, incomodo y tal fue maravilloso trabajar en la JMJ. Tambien me contaron gente muy cercana y amigos y todo pues que se fueron convirtiendo o se acercaron mas a Dios y asi por ejemplo si te vaz para España y tambien para Europa y el mundo entero."

Concha, 17 y de España: "En este JMJ he descubierto la alegria que hace que todo el mundo sea amable y que nos comportemos todos como una gran familia y el Papel adjunto de ahi el el que la tiene quer sostener, que le tiene que dar vida y eso es lo que nos recuerda del Papa que nos lo va diciendo para que no nos olvidemos."

Papa Benedicto XVI: "Queridos amigos, antes de despedirnos, y a la vez que los jóvenes de España entregan a los de Brasil la cruz de las Jornadas Mundiales de la Juventud, como Sucesor de Pedro, confío a todos los aquí presentes este gran cometido: Llevad el conocimiento y el amor de Cristo por todo el mundo. Él quiere que seáis sus apóstoles en el siglo veintiuno y los mensajeros de su alegría. ¡No lo defraudéis! Muchas gracias."

Música - Firmes en la Fe - JMJ 2011 canción

Laura & Carlene      

Laura, who's 27 & from London: "From Santiago we went on to Madrid to see el Papa, Benedict XVI, and that was an amazing experience too. We went to the aerodrome, there were two million other Catholics there too, there were papal flags waving and national flags from countries from all over the world. It was very hot to begin with but it was just such a rich experience to be there in solidarity with so many other young people. Even during the day time when we were exploring around Madrid and you had a little freebie pass to get a lunch on the Pope's behalf, so queuing up for that you got to really like talk to the other pilgrims. It's such an amazing atmosphere. The transport system is alive with young people with flags and different musical instruments, and singing and dancing (particularly the Brazilians, they're particularly good at dancing). So it was just such a joyful, wonderful experience. And then we had the Holy Hour in the aerodrome at night with Pope Benedict which was quite something!"

Carlene, who's 29 & from England: "I went to World Youth Day not really believing in God too much, not wanting anything to do with it, thinking it was all a bit boring and brass, and people were a bit fuddy-duddy who were Christian, to be honest with you. I was a cradle Catholic, I went to a Catholic school but in life I just fell away from the religion, by choice really. Anyway I took my sister to WYD for a present for her because she is very religious, and ended up going along, thinking that I could just like go for the holiday. Then I started to meet all the families and all the people that had Catholicism weaved into their lives, and the pride that the family who accommodated us had. Seeing the millions of young Catholics gave me a different perspective. .. It was quite amazing to see how many people there were and to think that there was a diversity in the religion and everyone wasn't like 'hills are alive with the sound of music' people and you didn't have to be put into a certain box. You've got the freedom to be yourself."

Music - Firm in Faith by Ooberfuse (1 of the Madrid Me Encanta winners)

Cecilia, David & Dominic       

Cecilia, who's from Argentina: "The best experience of WYD was to meet people from all over the world, all the young people, and to share with them different experiences and prayers to our God. So for me it was very special. It was my first time at World Youth Day and I'm very happy to be in Spain, everybody was very friendly. We can see our Church, how rich it is and how we can be altogether, if we want to think about our future, our projects and our ideas. So I am very happy to be a Catholic and this was the best experience for me."

David, who's a seminarian from England: "The thing that really stood out for me was the response to the catecheses sessions from the young people because the questions they asked really revealed their life of prayer, their life of faith, in a way that I'd never expected and to a depth I'd never expected, so that was very encouraging, as was the public devotion you saw all around the city."

Dominic, who's 19 & also from England: "The experience of being around so many other young Catholics, it's just fantastic."

Papa Bento XVI: "Queridos jovens e amigos de língua portuguesa, encontrastes Jesus Cristo! Sentir-vos-eis em contra-corrente no meio duma sociedade onde impera a cultura relativista que renuncia a buscar e a possuir a verdade. Mas foi para este momento da história, cheio de grandes desafios e oportunidades, que o Senhor vos mandou: para que, graças à vossa fé, continue a ressoar a Boa Nova de Cristo por toda a terra. Espero poder encontrar-vos daqui a dois anos, na próxima Jornada Mundial da Juventude, no Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Até lá, rezemos uns pelos outros, dando testemunho da alegria que brota de viver enraizados e edificados em Cristo. Até breve, queridos jovens! Que Deus vos abençoe!"

MusicWe've Been Made One by Darryll Wilson (1 of the Madrid Me Encanta winners)

Teresa, Tom & Rita      

Teresa, who's 19 & from Spain: "World Youth Day Madrid impressed me so much because I saw the affection of the Pope to the young people and I felt like a big family and I realised the universality of the Church and that there are many young people that share the same faith."

Tom, who's 26 & a seminarian from England: "My experience of this World Youth Day in Madrid has been wonderful. Really you can see the whole purpose of World Youth Day - to promote the family life, to promote Catholic culture and education, and it's all with the Lord. In fact, at the vigil I had this great experience that we weren't there to see the Pope, we were there to be with the Pope worshipping Our Lord. And to anyone who hasn't been to WYD, I'd say 'You must come, to understand the universality of the Church, the youth of the Church and the joy that is in the Church."

Rita, who's from Martinique: "When we got to Madrid, it was like meeting loads of different people from all over the world and meeting loads of great friends - we were kind of like a bunch of family now."

Jessica, Miguel & Kirsty      

Jessica, who's 16 & from England: "The experience for me was life-changing. It was one of the best trips I've ever been on. My favourite part was the very last Mass said by the Pope because it was moving and even though there was a storm, he was so moved by our spirits that he didn't want to leave."

Miguel, who's 17 & also from England:"My favourite experience from World Youth Day was must definitely have been the overnight vigil with the apocalyptic storm and then Mass on Sunday morning. It was an incredible experience."

Kirsty, who's 22 & from England too: "For me the best part of World Youth Day is like sharing your faith with other people from all around the world who all believe in Christ because that's absolutely amazing. And you get to talk to them, see what life is like being a Christian in their countries, they show you a bit of their culture and you can share theirs."

Papst Benedikt XVI: "Liebe junge Christen deutscher Sprache! Tief in unserem Herzen sehnen wir uns nach dem Großen und Schönen im Leben. Laßt eure Wünsche und Sehnsüchte nicht ins Leere laufen, sondern macht sie fest in Jesus Christus. Er selber ist der Grund, der trägt, und der sichere Bezugspunkt für ein erfülltes Leben."

Music - Unshakeable by Ooberfuse (1 of the Madrid Me Encanta winners)

Elena, Peter, Alejandro & Stephen      

Elena, who's 21 & from Lithuania: "Before coming, I really had a lot of struggles and I felt sad. For me it was very hard to understand how to be joyful - I didn't have joy in my heart. During this trip, I heard the passages from the letters of St Paul, writing about the joy while he was in prison. And for me it was a very, very important message and I really experienced a great joy with millions of people from all over the world."

Peter, who's 17 & from London:"My experience of World Youth Day has been fantastic and it has been inspiring to see so many young Catholics in one place. Maybe the best part was being on the trains - just living with the atmosphere, everyone singing songs together and everyone united."

Alejandro, who's from Paraguay: "I think this meeting was a very good experience because I met with a lot of people. I came alone so I made a lot of friends."

Stephen, who's 22 & from England: "It was awesome to be at the final vigil and see another 1.5 million young Catholics who'd chosen to be there too. It's beyond comprehension the organisation of it all and all those different people with their various lives, but we'd all decided that this was a priority for each of us. How wonderful it would have been to have spoken to everyone of them to find out exactly what their reasons for attending were and their journey with God up to that stage. So, yeh, it was marvellous"

Fr Francesco, Lana, Ferdi & Milad 

Father Francesco, from Italy: "We came here with a group of 400 people from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Cyprus and Iraq; we have also Israeli Arabs, not just Palestinian Arabs; we are from the Neocatechumenical Way. So all these youth coming from all these countries in the Middle East are making a very deep way of faith; and so also this way of faith makes possible this communion between us, between our cultures, in Jesus Christ."

Lana, from Israel: "The great thing about this is that I really know deep inside that the only thing that unites all these nations from all around the world is Jesus. So that's why I'm very happy to be here because I know that they all came for Jesus Christ; that's why it's very nice to know that we all came for the same goal, to find the same thing."

Ferdi, from Israel: "It was a good experience; this is the first time I have come to a World Youth Day and I like it so much. .. The combination between the Arabs and the Israelis, it's good that they have a community here that gathers all people, that we pray altogether and we put everything aside and just have the religion that brings us all together."

Milad, from Israel: "It's a great emotion to be together really. We feel that the unique person who unites us is Jesus Christ. We are coming from different countries with very difficult history and wars etc, but I see on this pilgrimage that we are together as brothers. In the one of the homilies that one of the bishops here in Spain said 'It is a very strong sign to see all these flags here together, from Jordan, Palestine, Israel and Iraq, all together, with all the flags; that politicians didn't succeed to unite them but Jesus Christ, yes he did, he did succeed to unite these people. I think that if there is love among persons, I think we will succeed, we will succeed to do this peace, peace in the spirit of Christ."

Papa Benedetto XVI: "Mi rivolgo ora ai giovani di lingua italiana. Cari amici, questa Veglia rimarrà come un’esperienza indimenticabile della vostra vita. Custodite la fiamma che Dio ha acceso nei vostri cuori in questa notte: fate in modo che non si spenga, alimentatela ogni giorno, condividetela con i vostri coetanei che vivono nel buio e cercano una luce per il loro cammino. Grazie!"

Jerome, Emily & Alithea      

Jerome, who's 21 & from England: "The best part for me of WYD Madrid for me was the adoration with the Pope and the moment when the Pope gave Benediction. It was just incredibly powerful seeing the effect the Holy Father and the Blessed Sacrament had on all the young people there. The witness of over 2 million young Catholics for me was incredible and it has really helped me with my faith."

Emily, who's 16 & also from England:"The best part of WYD was meeting loads of different Catholics and getting to know other people's cultures, and like just everyone being so happy and celebrating; getting to see the Pope and everyone having the same views on everything. I'd recommend it to anyone because it was just so uplifting."

Alithea, who's 21 & from England too: "One of the best experiences was the Stations of the Cross.. it was just amazing because there were so many people all out on this road just sat down, like it was such a prayerful atmosphere, everyone was quiet and joining in the bits they could in their own languages, so that was beautiful. "

Pope Benedict XVI: "I greet all the English-speaking young people present here today! As you return home, take back with you the good news of Christ’s love which we have experienced in these unforgettable days. Fix your eyes upon him, deepen your knowledge of the Gospel and bring forth abundant fruit! God bless all of you until we meet again!"

Music - Faith in You by Ooberfuse (1 of the Madrid Me Encanta winners)

Emily, Alex & John      

Emily, who's 18 & from France: "This summer I answered the Pope's call and the experience was just exhilarating, simply, simply just mind-blowing.  Meeting so many young people, making new friends and all sharing the same faith is just a great experience. I think for anybody it's a great way to either discover faith, reinforce it or rediscover it."

Alex, who's 21 & from England: "I was completely amazed by the whole experience: the crowds were humongous and every nationality under the sun." 

John, who's 19 & from Wales: "The highlight for me, as well as seeing the Pope which was great, was the vigil leading a Holy Hour of praise and worship from 2-3 am in an open tent. So there was Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, above us was just the moon and the stars, it was wonderful, just wonderful."

Pape Benoît XVI: "Chers jeunes francophones, soyez fiers d’avoir reçu le don de la foi, c’est elle qui illuminera votre vie à chaque instant. Appuyez-vous sur la foi de vos proches, sur la foi de l’Église! Par la foi, nous sommes fondés dans le Christ. Retrouvez-vous avec d’autres pour l’approfondir, fréquentez l’Eucharistie, mystère de la foi par excellence. Le Christ seul peut répondre aux aspirations que vous portez en vous. Laissez-vous saisir par Dieu pour que votre présence dans l’Église lui donne un élan nouveau!"

Philippa, Becka, Glen & Michel      

Philippa, who's 16 & from London: "I had the most amazing time. I absolutely loved Mass with the Pope on Sunday morning and it's just incredible when you go to meet two million other young people and you make so many friends. When you're walking around and you're on the trains and you're going from place to place, you meet so many people and you get to swap wrist bands and they add you on Facebook! And it's just amazing when you go to each event to see so many people of your own faith celebrating the same things and to find people who believe the same. Because when you're at home, you might be the only young person in your parish but when you go here you realise there are so many more of you."

Becka, who's from Liverpool:"I think it's amazing the Holy Father because he's the one who obviously guides the Catholic Church and to see him here with us, it just unifies everyone and it's the reason why we're all here together, sort of thing. Obviously I think we can learn and grow from what he is teaching us."

Glen, who's 20 & from the Philippines: "When we got to Madrid, it was like meeting loads of different people from all over the world and meeting loads of great friends - we were kind of like a bunch of family now."

Michel, from the Netherlands: "The Pope he is like the Catholic Church and he has the values of the Catholic Church, that's why he is the Pope. I think it's beautiful how many young people want to be like Jesus and they need the Pope for that also, because the Pope says things about believing and, yah, it's beautiful."

Music - Unshakeable by Ooberfuse (1 of the Madrid Me Encanta winners)

Kieran, Magdalen & Joe      

Kieran, who's 19 & from England: "It's been an incredible experience just to see the Church alive with young people filling the streets. One of the most powerful parts for me was hearing the great talks on offer for English speaking pilgrims at the Love and Life Centre.. which encouraged me in my own faith and in my own pursuit of holiness. But what was also great was to hear the words of the Holy Father, encouraging us in perserverance. His words seemed very intentional and thoughtful .. You could tell he had a true care and a true love for the youth."

Magdalen, from China:"One thing that's really important for the purpose of the WYD is that the Church has intended to implant the young people with the vision and the responsibility for the new evangelisation, which is exactly what our society needs right now. …Being part of acknowledging the larger purpose of the Church really is something I keep very close to my heart and it's important that we carry this mission we were given back to where we live. And meanwhile, as the WYD has already shown us, we must walk hand in hand with the learning of the Church, the catechesis, and also with prayer."

Joe, who's 22 & from England: "One of the bishops in his talksummed it up very well: "When you go back, people will be saying to you 'Ah, so you've come back to reality!' And he said, 'No. That's not correct. This is the reality. This is what life should be like and what God intended us for.'" .. When you're here, you're just surrounded by friends everywhere, everyone who is there for that reason, you can trust. It is amazing, it is an unbelievable experience .. you're all so happy and peaceful with each other. So for me, this is a high point in my life, something to strive for, that I want to mimick every day. .. So to sum up, World Youth Day is a vision of heaven in a way."

Benjamin, Bunty & Chilekwa      

Benjamin, who's 18 & from London: "The best experience is sharing the faith with so many other people from across all corners of the world. It's the best thing ever and seeing so many other young Catholics, strong in the faith and all having a joyful time altogether."

Bunty, who's 20 & from England: "Seeing millions of pilgrims on our walk, they're all young, like my age, seeing how much they love God was such a boost for my own faith. I didn't realise how much it would effect me and how much it would move my heart to see the sheer amount of love of God and representation from all over the world, you see the Church come into its own almost, it just lights you up inside."

Chilekwa, who's from Zambia: "My experience has been overwhelming and it has been very amazing. I've learnt so much, I've seen my weakness, I've seen my strength.  Just coming here has made me even closer to Christ and having the Pope around has been really amazing."

Pope Benedict XVI: "Dear young people, in these moments of silence before the Blessed Sacrament, let us raise our minds and hearts to Jesus Christ, the Lord of our lives and of the future. May he pour out his Spirit upon us and upon the whole Church, that we may be a beacon of freedom, reconciliation and peace for the whole world."

Peter, Meike & Ernest      

Peter, who's 17 & from England: "My experience of World Youth Day has been fantastic and it’s been inspiring to see so many young Catholics in one place. I think maybe the best part was being on the trains, living with the atmosphere: everyone singing songs together and everyone united. If you haven’t been, you should definitely come along. Even if you’re not a Catholic, it’s a fantastic experience."

Meike, who's 16 & from England: "I went to World Youth Day Madrid and it was amazing. The best bit was seeing two million other young Catholics which really makes you realise that you’re not the only one, because often it feels like you’re the only young Catholic in the area."

Ernest, who's 19 & a seminarian from Spain: "We were preparing this World Youth Day from a long time ago. It was really great. I had the opportunity to be so near to the Pope, it really affirmed my vocation. I was so happy. It was so tiring to prepare all the stuff, to live all these things but it really, really matters a lot to us - to my friends, to my family, to all of us, it was awesome. I don’t have any words to describe it, I just want to live it again in Rio."

Papa Bento XVI: "Meus queridos amigos, convido cada um e cada uma de vós a estabelecer um diálogo pessoal com Cristo, expondo-Lhe as próprias dúvidas e sobretudo escutando-O. O Senhor está aqui e chama-te! Jovens amigos, vale a pena ouvir dentro de nós a Palavra de Jesus e caminhar seguindo os seus passos. Pedi ao Senhor que vos ajude a descobrir a vossa vocação na vida e na Igreja, e a perseverar nela com alegria e fidelidade, sabendo que Ele nunca vos abandona nem atraiçoa! Ele está connosco até ao fim do mundo."

Music - Unshakeable by Ooberfuse (1 of the Madrid Me Encanta winners)

Peter, Sr Mary Benedicta & Rob   

Peter, who's from England: "My experience of World Youth Day has just been an absolutely incredible week of Christian and Catholic love and life and liveliness, and just seeing and meeting so many young people. ..This has showed me just how true and how real the Catholic faith is."

Sr Mary Benedicta OP, who's from Nigeria: "It's been a wonderful experience for me but what stood out in all of this for me was experiencing the universality of the Church, the whole world coming together, united in one faith, in one love, praying with the Holy Father who is the Vicar of Christ."

Rob, who's 17 & from the UK: "It was a good experience; this is the first time I have come to a World Youth Day and I like it so much. .. The combination between the Arabs and the Israelis, it's good that they have a community here that gathers all people, that we pray altogether and we put everything aside and just have the religion that brings us all together."

Pape Benoît XVI: "Chers jeunes de langue française, le Christ vous demande aujourd’hui d’être enracinés en Lui et de bâtir avec Lui votre vie sur le roc qu’il est Lui-même. Il vous envoie pour être des témoins courageux et sans complexes, authentiques et crédibles ! N’ayez pas peur d’être catholiques, d’en témoigner toujours autour de vous avec simplicité et sincérité ! Que l’Église trouve en vous et en votre jeunesse les missionnaires joyeux de la Bonne Nouvelle!"

Music - Unshakeable by Ooberfuse (1 of the Madrid Me Encanta winners)