World Youth Day





2011 WORLD YOUTH DAY REFLECTIONS


THE UNIVERSALITY OF PRAISE
A HUMBLING EXPERIENCE
A PILGRIMAGE
A ONCE-IN-A-LIFE-TIME EXPERIENCE
THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE CHURCH
REFLECTIONS ON THE AFCCPC NATIONAL CONVENTION



THE UNIVERSALITY OF PRAISE
By Cyril Bernardo
Pater Noster Youth Ministry

To choose one aspect of my pilgrimage that is considered a highlight is a tough task -- the whole trip was a highlight. However, one thing did stand out and it was this one Praise-and-Worship session my group was having that attracted people from all over the world. People from Asia, people from North America, and even people from Africa joined us in praising our God. They sang the same songs that we sang; to know that there are people around the world who live their lives like we do -- that inspired me to be a better servant of God to know that there are people elsewhere that are doing the same things I'm doing.

Back to Top



A HUMBLING EXPERIENCE
By Clarissa Baquiran
Pater Noster Youth Ministry

Whenever I try to think of a word that would encompass my experience at World Youth Day, I have difficulty coming up with an answer. I heard about the stories of others at the World Youth Days of the past, how many received their calling or some other message, so I embarked on the pilgrimage with high expectations. I envisioned a perfect, problem-free experience, but instead I was met with many challenges. Sometimes I felt alone within the party I traveled with, and misunderstood. I also had to cope with the disappointment others had of me when I neglected to do what I should have done. I felt wronged when people I never met had the audacity to try to take the place where I was standing, or unintentionally block my view to see the Pope, who was standing a few hundred yards away. But looking back, I realize that we all are human, and are still bound to err, even at a religious event. Because we sin, we suffer. And suffering isn't necessarily wrong, for God allows us to suffer to gain strength in Him, and see that His blessings are still ever flowing. We have the tendency to see our God in a narrow path, and we anticipate our prayers to be answered in a specific way. My World Youth Day experience taught me that time and time again, God answers our prayers and beyond, for it is part of His perfect plan. When the bus ran out of gasoline, we were stranded in the middle of the round-a-bout portion of a highway. Yet at the same time, we were given the opportunity to praise God despite our trouble, in front of dozens of passing cars. When Hurricane Irene was passing through New York, our flight was cancelled. Yet, our party of twenty was given stay at a hotel for three days, as well as meal vouchers, all for free. Many were not able to get such a good deal. I could talk about what it was like to be amongst other people from other nations who worship the same God, but anyone who attended World Youth Day could tell you that. What I learned most came from my suffering. I learned that God is always present, and that He is our provider. This lesson not only applies to World Youth Day, but is relevant to everyday life. So if I'm asked now to describe my experience, I now know what to say. My World Youth Day experience was humbling. (In photo above, from L to R: Kristin Mapili, Kim Guinto, and author Clarissa Baquiran).

Back to Top



A PILGRIMAGE
By Joseph Caparros
University of Notre Dame

I write as a pilgrim, a man of faith.

How does one prepare for World Youth Day? And once you ensure your luggage is less than 50 pounds and once you attempt to remember the vocabulary lessons from your high school Spanish classes, then what?

I prepared as a pilgrim. I prayed during the canceled international flights as a pilgrim. I met with other pilgrims as I saw the incorruptible body of St. Bernadette in Nevers and bathed in the holiest water of the universe in Lourdes. I sang praises when the bus broke down and said grace even when the only meal was a French croissant. Although difficult at times, I had to become a pilgrim.

I arrived in Madrid to the voices of three million pilgrims. They were dancing, clapping, singing praises in their respective languages. They were trading pins, bracelets, flags, and everything else with their brothers and sisters in Christ. This happened all week long.

So in my opinion, "World Youth Day" is just a cover up. It was more than waiting in a single spot for nine hours in 100oF with no restroom or food just to get a closer glimpse of the Pope as he arrived in Madrid. Instead, it was speaking to those from Brazil, Mexico, and Spain, and sharing the chant "Esta es la juventud del Papa!" (We are the youth of the Pope!) WYD was more than trying to sleep in a small field with two million others just to wait for Sunday Mass at dawn the next morning. Instead, it was singing common praise songs with those from South Africa and India, receiving a koala bear key chains from Australians and Facebook-ing the new Canadian friends we just met.

World Youth Day was a pure vision of the universal church. The "Jornada Mundial de La Juventud" (WYD) showed the hope for the future of Catholicism in a world where we all face temptation. And lastly, I thank God for taking me closer toward his special plan for me. I pray for the Pope's intentions and for God's faithful servants around the world.

I end with a quote: "Love without limit and sacrifice everything regardless." Amen

Back to Top



A ONCE-IN-A-LIFE-TIME EXPERIENCE
By Jess Malinis

World Youth Day was a very memorable experience for me because I have this problem. My problem was being very shy and could not even talk to or share with people whom I'm not close to. And before WYD I doubted the existence of God and miracles. But during the trip I saw proof of miracles and proof that God exists. I saw photos of Mama Mary in the sky from the cameras of my co-pilgrims. When I saw it of course I doubted it but on the next day I saw clouds and bright lights forming like a gate in the sky and I felt something I can't explain. And I also discovered that the youths who came from normal schools are more saintly than youths who came from the minor seminaries. You can feel it when someone is blessed by God. It was a very good experience and my co-pilgrims made it even greater because they are just a youth like me but the difference is that they are much more saintly than I. They became a model and idol for me. Every time the devil tempts me to stop believing I always keep in mind my experience during WYD because it gives me a new light and a new hope that our God really EXISTS. Special thanks to Tita Grace Bernardo for inviting me to attend the World Youth Day because it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Without her I think I would have missed WYD. Thank you so much, Tita. Special thanks to PNYM & PNYA for making my experience in WYD greater. I think without you guys, WYD wouldn't be memorable. (In the photo above: the Malinis brothers. Joseph is on the left; author Jess is on the right. Joseph is a 21-year old seminarian from Sacramento, CA)

Back to Top



THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE CHURCH
Jonah Caparros
Senior, Mt. Joseph High School
Baltimore, MD

After going to World Youth Day in Madrid, I have come to realize the universality of the Church. I finally get why Catholic means "universal." It's because we all had one purpose to become closer to Christ. I was able to see the world's warriors of Christ and it truly inspired me. Experiencing and seeing 2 million youths with so much zeal for Christ made me feel like I was a part of something so much greater than myself and my diocese. The different languages and cultures didn't matter because our common belief in Him united all of us.

Back to Top



REFLECTIONS ON THE AFCCPC NATIONAL CONVENTION
By Casey Yoon

Until I attended AFCCPC's 16th National Charismatic Convention in New Jersey (July 1-3, 2011), I had no idea what this kind of event is, at all. When I was invited by the Pater Noster Music Ministry to join them at the convention, I was delighted, but wasn't quite sure of what to expect. Now, I would say that it was the best experience I've had with a Catholic community that I don't usually belong to. That weekend was completely full of spiritual chemistry and guidance for me, and I definitely felt the same atmosphere with everyone else.

I gladly accepted the invitation, looking forward to getting to know everyone more, since I only recently met the people of PNYM, and getting the chance to be involved in a Catholic community unlike the one I've been a part of for the past years. But I would have never dreamed that, besides all that, I would finally hear from the Lord. In the six years of being a Catholic, I have not heard a personal message from God -- I usually assumed the best answers He would give if He were to answer my questions and prayers.

Guest speaker Brother Mark from Uganda finished the morning-afternoon session on Saturday by leading us into praying for a few people who wanted to experience laying of the hands done by a group. I wanted to join the ten or so people who were in the front, praying, with others praying over them, but I didn't, so I decided to just join the rest of the crowd and pray for those few. But after a while, I took my hands down from praying for them and concentrated on my heart's burdens instead -- I couldn't concentrate on praying for others with such a heavy heart. I spontaneously began saying, "Forgive me, Lord." I broke out in tears, and kept praying. I could not believe how amazing it felt to repeat that out loud and let it be up to His mercy. The thing is, I was answered. Almost immediately.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7). Those were verses that reappeared at this convention a number of times. I know now that God called me to try harder and give more in learning more about Him, and that was all I had to do to finally hear Him.

"Forgive me, Lord," I cried.

He said, "Don't worry, I love you."

And then overwhelming gratefulness burst out of me in tears.

Then, during the healing session on Sunday, I was definitely reluctant to pray in tongues. I was never used to it, and I never received the gift, so I just didn't feel like doing it. And the fact that the brother doing the healing focused only on that gift, not mentioning any other gifts like the gift of tears, joy, etc., left me feeling slightly uncomfortable because he made it sound as if I wasn't comfortable with praying in tongues, I can't receive any gift, ever. But I was willing to really open up for the entire weekend, so I tried. What is strange is that it eventually became a soft humming, which felt much more comfortable and natural for me. I just let that take over me. I felt physically tired and worn out and uncomfortable for the most part, but God spoke to me a second time - when the humming took place of my trying to pray in tongues, the healer finally got to me and spoke: "Don't worry, my child. Rest."

"Give me rest," I asked.

For a while, I thought I wasn't going to hear from the Lord, yet again.

He said, "Rest, child. Rest."

During this weekend, I feel and know in my heart, mind, and soul that I truly opened up and offered myself to the Lord with all my faults and sins present with me. I finally let Him gain control over the cross I bear, and He relieved me and cleansed me in a flash. Proudly, I say that I have been touched by God and I feel renewed. My spiritual life changed so much through merely offering myself to the Lord.

Jesus, I believe in You
Jesus, I belong to You
You're the reason that I live
The reason that I sing
With all I am

Back to Top