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Welcome to Madrid!

Friday, August 26, 2011

After a very restful night we set off on the final part of our outward journey. We were pleasantly surprised to meet His Grace, The Archbishop of Birmingham, Bernard Longley, who came aboard the coach to offer his blessing on our group. We arrived at the Dominican school, in Atocha and set up for the night; with many people rejecting the gymnasium for the relatively cooler playground ( which also allowed for a quick game of football to break out.)

After collecting our pilgrim packs, food tokens and other practicalities we headed into the city centre, where Father Tim played tour guide and took the group around the Spanish capital. By six pm we started to make our way to Cibeles Square for the opening Mass of WYD. The streets were full of flag waving pilgrims and groups waiting for the Cardinal Archbishop of MadriD, Antonio María Rouco Varela, to officially open World Youth Day. Cardinal Varela declared in his homily that Madrid welcomed all the pilgrims with open arms and declared that they were the "B16 generation" that had come seeking God. They should however remember that God was seeking them too! After Mass the group had their first experience of using the food token scheme in the busy metropolis.

Mark Davoren


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