A year ago Madrid was getting ready to receive the pope. The youth of the world arrived in Madrid to celebrate the faith. But one year after, were there fruits?
I first thought about this when Salt and Light prepared the anniversary of WYD 2002. As a staff member for the Madrilenian WYD I asked myself what fruits the did event give the Church? Keeping in mind is too early to see the real fruits, and knowing WYD is a work of God is so big, we may never be able to measure the real effects it had.
To realize what the results are we need to look at what is the purpose of WYD and the goal is nothing less than show that the church is alive and the model of life offered by the church is in fact something more relevant than ever. Looking at WYD Madrid we realize despite of all of the difficulties many people went through during that week, all participants will say was the experience of a lifetime.
My work at WYD brought me to Salt and Light and from my point of view that is one of the fruits together with many others. In Madrid my job was taking care of the content of the official Portuguese web site. It was an amazing experience to share the stories of hundreds of young people around the world making sacrifices to be there, to celebrate their faith together with other people, to have the Holy Father Benedict XVI there thanking them for choosing the way of Christ.
But the experience that really showed me what the Catholic faith is about was my work with the Portuguese Conference of Bishops. My function was to organize a general meeting for all Portuguese pilgrims. After five months of work on August 18, 8.000 young boys and girls celebrated Christ in their lives, jumping singing and waving flags.
Why that event was so important for me? My past is connected with youth ministry I arrived in Madrid with nothing less than 14 years of experience as a youth minister. In Madrid I was seeing all my work coming to maybe to its most visible fruition. As a youth minister my concern was always try to get young people walking close to God and to not be afraid of showing what they really believe. That moment in the Madrid Arena was living proof of it.
So looking at all of this WYD Madrid has already given fruits for both those who went and met God in their lives, and also those who followed the event from afar and were captivated by these young Catholics standing firm in their faith