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Aimee Keate shares her experience of WYD in Madrid

Aimee Keane - Sun, Sep 11th 2011

Evening all, my name is Aimee and I attended my very first World Youth Day in Madrid this year with the Claretian family. I didn't really know what to expect as I had read and heard about previous WDYs but was still not entirely sure what it was all about. Happy to say I was presently surprised. When we arrived at our destination in Segovia, the first thing I noticed was the amount of young Catholics there were. I was completely taken aback by this as I had no idea just how big the celebration would be and this was before we had even got to see the Pope, this was just the Claretian family. Everyone was very welcoming with open arms as we were all there for the same reason, to celebrate our faith. 

The Claretian family set out a number of activities for us. For example the whole group had to learn and perform a dance which was later filmed in the town centre and is now on You Tube so feel free to have a look, it was great fun. We attended a number of Masses in gorgeous churches and also took part in long walks which gave us time to reflect on our personal journeys and what our faith meant to us and how we could deepen our connection with Chris.  

It was such a beautiful place as we had the weather and the atmosphere was absolutely incredible. 

We left Segovia and headed for Madrid where we would attend the mass which was held by the Pope. For me this was a personal hi-light as I never attended Hyde Park when the Pope was in England, I just watched it at home so to be able to feel the Pope's presence and to apart of the mass he was leading and to be amongst all those people who are there for the same reasons as me was amazing.

It wasn't all religious as you do get your free time but you tend to spend it with all the new friends you had made, as I went there not knowing anyone and now have so many friends across the world. This has been a wonderful experience for me and I am so happy that I didn't let my worries stop me from attending. My eyes have truly opened and I would definitely encourage anybody who is thinking of attending the next World Youth Day which is to be held in Brazil in two years time to go. You get so much out of this trip, more than what I can stand here and tell you so if you are interested and are unsure about it, like I was, please feel free to come and speak with myself, the talkers who will be at mass tomorrow or Fr. Angel. 

You could really see just how special we all are and how special our faith is as around the world. Being Catholics, we all have such a strong connection and it's good to be able to rejoice and be happy in your faith. The way the faith is celebrated in other countries is different to how it is celebrated in England which is something we can learnt from and was very refreshing to see.  

Fr. Angel has made a display at the back of the Church, so please take time to have a look as you will see just how much of a fabulous time we had. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Fr. Angel for orgainising this trip and ensuring that we did not miss out on such a mind opening experience. 

Many thanks.

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