Thursday, 01 September 2011 13:33
Fifty-five youth and adults from diocese travel to World Youth Day
By Christopher M. Riggs
Tama Dutton returned from World Youth Day late Tuesday, Aug. 23. Two days later, after attempting to recover from the jet lag, she said, “They call it World Youth Day for a reason!”
Dutton, the director of Faith formation at St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Schulte, was one of the 55 pilgrims from the Diocese of Wichita who attended this year’s World Youth Day Aug. 15-20 in Madrid.
Although the pilgrims were excited to be with the hundreds of thousands of other Catholics from around the world for the WYD events with the pope, Dutton said, she believes the group’s best experiences were in interacting with their hosts in the Diocese of Cartagena. The pilgrims stayed with a host family for about a week.
“They treated us like we were long lost blood relatives,” she said. “It was nothing but fiesta this, fiesta that. It was wonderful. Just to see how the people lived was so interesting.”
Dutton, whose Spanish was mostly restricted to a fast-food Mexican menu, said it was good that she has always been a good charades player.
“I acted everything out,” she said. “It was amazing how much Spanish we all picked up in a week. One night I even dreamed in Spanish. I had Spanish words floating around in my head!”
The reaction from the youth when they say Pope Benedict XVI, Dutton said, “was over the top.”
“It was overwhelming in some ways because Madrid is a big city and most of our kids are coming from rural cities, and to be in such a big city is overwhelming,” she said. “To meet people their own age from all over the world who are followers of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church is amazing.”
One priest summed up all the language problems during a homily at one of the Masses the group attended. “He said that the one universal language is love,” Dutton said. “It was amazing how our hearts could communicate and how language kind of faded away.”
Dutton said she is not planning on attending World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but that she didn’t want to say that too loud. “I said that after World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto.”
But she is ready to pass the WYD baton to another couple who were among the pilgrims who traveled to Spain.
“They are good to go,” Dutton said. “They’ll probably go to Rio!”
Bishops were encouraged by youths at WYD
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The gathering of more than 1.5 million young Catholics at World Youth Day in Madrid was an event that left the 800 bishops present feeling encouraged, said Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
“In a world shaken by wars, economic crises and social discouragement, the youths who gathered with the pope had only one message to spread: Christ lives,” the cardinal told L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.
“That is extraordinary because it encouraged the bishops, as well, in their mission as teachers of the faith,” he said in the interview published Aug. 26.
Hundreds of bishops led the formal catechesis sessions at World Youth Day Aug. 16-21.
Their presence in the Spanish capital, the cardinal said, was a witness of the bishops’ concern for the church’s younger members and of “solidarity with their difficulties.”
He said many young Catholics, including the Spaniards, live in countries where unemployment among the young has skyrocketed.
The church’s task, he said, is “to propose profound values in the midst of a reality that seems to give importance only to personal success, superficiality, consumerism and hedonism, as the pope said.”
Cardinal Ouellet said he went to Spain because “an event that sees the presence of a fifth of the world’s bishops is a natural place for the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops to be.”