Saturday, August 20, 2011

Praising in the Rain

Over a million people gather in Cuatro Vientos Air Base for the World Youth Day vigil with Pope Benedict XVI

Aug. 18, 2011. Pilgrims run as Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the Popemobile at the Nunciature in Madrid. Jorge Guerrero / AFP/Getty Images

For the past few days, young people at World Youth Day have been braving extreme Madrid heat to meet the Holy Father, celebrate their Catholic faith and to meet Christ in each other (and then to bring Him back home to their families and friends). Tonight at the Cuatro Vientos Air Base, over one million young people are braving wind and rain as Pope Benedict leads the prayer vigil.

Aerial shot of over a million people at Cuatro Vientos Air Base
At a solemn moment during the vigil (when the wind and rain finally subsided), a large monstrance emerged from under the stage, a scene reminiscent of rock concerts except the one taking centre stage is not a rock star but the Rock of our salvation, Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The scene was breathtaking. Over a million pilgrims knelt in silence, many with tears in their eyes.

Monstrance on stage. screen capture from
The pilgrims will be spending the night in vigil, praying, sharing stories, singing or sleeping, awaiting the final Mass of World Youth Day tomorrow. 

Earlier in a unique "World Youth Day" celebration in the Philippines, 11,000 pilgrims gathered at the Ateneo de Manila University. Young Filipinos were singing and dancing in the rain, a symbol of their participation in the events currently taking place in Madrid. The young people sang the official song of World Youth Day Manila in 1995 called Tell the World of His Love.

Watch the live coverage of World Youth Day on Salt + Light TV (with free programming during WYD) or online at

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