Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And it starts...

Today is the first day of school, for the little ones. Why the stipulation? My oldest is already at college and immersed in courses and college life.

Today is a new day; a new beginning. But aren't they all?

For some people World Youth Day was a stepping off point. A place where their faith got a start. For others it was a stepping stone along the road to a deeper faith. How lucky for both they were in Madrid. But it doesn't have to end at the vigil. Like the best of business practices, it can be applied to every situation, each and every day. Offering new beginnings with each sunrise.

And each night a reason to pause and be thankful.

Monday, August 29, 2011

When life gives you sticks

Get ready to roast marshmallows. :-)

The Aftermath

The term aftermath is a strange one: after and math. Happening later and an accounting.

Irene: After 8 hours of no power, our aftermath is a yard full of downed branches. We are very fortunate. For two of our neighbors have a multitude of toppled trees in their yards. Some hitting garages, others making huge messes. Thankfully no one was hurt.

World Youth Day: The aftermath is not as cut and dry as that of a windy rain storm that brings about no substantive damage. It lingers and infiltrates life from WYD forward. Nothing will be the same. I am not the same. After experiencing pilgrimage, no one can be the same.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Be Prepared

For the next week, maybe more, now that I am home, and at a familiar keyboard, I'll be posting pictures World Youth Day.

Irene is coming. Irene is coming. It's all over the news. With each rain drop that falls and leaf that blows, I wonder, Is this it? Is this the start? And so we wait. Like we did in Madrid. Waiting for the Pope, the Stations of the Cross, the Vigil Mass. A lot of waiting, preparing -- carrying enough water, having enough food, and sun screen.

Funny this weeks gospel is all about waiting and being prepared, for we know not when He is coming. Be Prepared.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Some believe God sends disasters, tornadoes, nor'esters, and even hurricanes to punish us or make a point. I don't think so Tim.

God gives us the strength to deal with adversity when it arrives at our door step. Regardless of its shape, size or weather pattern.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Came Home to No Job

The last discussion we had as a group was about carrying WYD forward into our lives here back home. Not home ten minutes and I open the letter from the cemetery saying my services are no longer required. What a blow. I loved my job there: The investigation, the community service and customer service.

But I shake the sand from my sandals and look forward to what God has in store for me. Something big, something bright, something exciting -- I just know it. Mother of Montserrat, pray for us.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Flash Mob - Mass

Spiritual Flash: At the Charles De Gaulle airport outside of Paris, we held Mass today. Most people quietly walked by. Still some others joined in. While one man screamed that it was inappropriate use of public space. He didn't approach me as I would have said, "Well the Mass is ended. Go in peace."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time Passes

Two weeks ago I was packing for World Youth Day. Tomorrow is the final day of our pilgrimage. So much has happened in the blink of an eye.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Photo from the vigil

Being the blog master for our group has its advantages. Like being able to see other people's images. Like this one taken by our Director during the overnight vigil.

See the person with rubber prayer bracelets on her wrists, covered in the blue rain poncho, holding an umbrella? C'est moi. I recognized me by the bracelets. It was a night to always remember.

Especially since the Pope was advised to leave, as there was no cover for him to take shelter under. He said, No -- that he would wait out the storm and resume the service.

At The Beach

Just put my feet in at the sea. The water is lovely.

The difference a day makes

I went down to breakfast this morning and World Youth Day is not on the front page of the newspaper anymore. Hopefully it will remain in the forefront of our heart and actions.

On the road again

Yesterday we traveled by bus to Barcelona. Along the way we stopped in Aragon and venerated the pilar where Mary appeared to St. James. Around this stone column a magnificent basilica has been built. I will post other pictures off my real camera later.

For the next two days we will be in Barcelona where we will have Mass at the cathedral.

I have a new room mate for this leg of the trip. It's interesting to hear a new perspective of the pilgrimage. A blessing.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Today - For Safety

The temperature, the wind, the rain, the beautiful night air for 2 million sleeping, or partying Catholics. All awaiting the Popes return for Mass in the morning. I was awake at 5 AM. I slept next to Leslee, our leader and an Italian young man name Giovanni. We were literally shoulder to shoulder. And my first thought in the morning was of after the Mass and leaving. Already the warnings were be announced to have a security check point for each group and to contact security when a party member was missing. It would happen.

As the sun came up I watched as groups around us awoke, packed up and left. I saw the wisdom of their planning. As two million Catholics would be flooding into the streets and metro system after the final blessing. And when another Boston group departed one of our young adults went with them, for health reasons. Better to not to walk in the 102 temperatures for a second day.

When Leslee awoke she was informed of our young adult's decision and she too made the decision to leave early, before Mass, for safety and health. And as I walked back into my hotel room, and turned on the TV, the Mass was just starting -- perfect timing. I dumped off my backpack, and watched.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Our beds for the night

We have enjoyed 102 degree heat, winds that collapsed two temporary chapels, a thunderstorm, and Adoration. The night air is cool. A gift for sleeping.

On Pilgrimage

A Friend

A friend is always there for you. Through thick and thin; always smiling and always within arms reach 24/7. Always.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Think I can make it?

Tomorrow is the 8 mike walk to the sleepover vigil site. With temperatures spiking to 102 the military has taken over the event. And the walk is now optional. Do I go or do I stay back at the hotel? The whole point in coming is the vigil. Comments welcome.

Camped out for the stations of the cross

We found a shady spot to wait the next 6 hours. Thank God.

Out for a walk

And met up with a dear friend who died to meet me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Riots In Madrid

Out this evening checking out the World Youth Day festivities we found ourself in a riot in the Puerta del Sol. We are all fine, but it was quite the experience.


Unexpected Pleasure

Tried to get into The Prado, to see the exhibit "The faces of Christ," but the crowds were prohibitive. Instead next door is this wonderful church. His face is here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It Starts

I know in previous posts that I have been writing that I'm at World Youth Day. Well, that's not completely true. World Youth Day officially starts tomorrow, Tuesday, with the opening Mass. Everything up to this point has been building, like the crowds that now clog Madrid's every road with pilgrims. It's totally unbelievable. A once in a lifetime chance, for lucky me, the second time.

World Youth Day is for the young in all of us.

World Youth Day is HOT, HOT, HOT

Temperature wise and spiritually this pilgrimage is hot!

Went to Toledo today and had Mass with Cardinal Sean at the monastery. Notice the wood kneelers.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's a pilgrimage not a vacation.

No fancy clothes or sassy shoes. One internal frame pack holds more than enough for a pilgrimage.


CDG airport! Surprise, surprise the insomniac slept in a very tight coach chair. All arrived safe and sound after crossing the pond. Madrid next!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

On Our Way

The Logan Express ride finished, we are waiting to check luggage. WYD we are on our way.

Cue the Owl

Clock at Night

Three nights ago I awoke to the hooting of an owl. With hoots, strong and loud the night hunter must have been in the old Maple closest to the house. Up until that night I had only heard owls while camping.

For the past two nights since then when I wake up in the middle of the night, first thing I do is lay here and listen. Hope-filled that the nocturnal visitor would return. The anticipation adds a bit of spice to the insomnia.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Saw this today

"I love the smell of agar in the morning."

When I was in the sixth grade, my aunt , who is a scientist, brought over a prepared frog which we dissected together. The activity of that one afternoon sealed the goal of my formal education.

The girls don't share my love of agar. In setting up the two plates for the last experiment in their genetics kit I thought they would mutiny.

It's interesting to note the similarity and differences between us.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What's so big about a bracelet?

Get Your Head In The Game: Pray for those effected by brain tumors. In memory of Memere

Peaks For Parkinson's: Pray for those who suffer from Parkinson's. In memory of Uncle Peter

St George Parish: Pray. World Youth Day 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Relinquishing the driver's seat

Don't get me wrong, my college bound daughter, has her driver's license and access to a car. She drives herself where she needs to go. But when I must tag along, I'm in the driver's seat. That is -- until yesterday.

Yesterday, a job interview at her pending college, she drove us. An hour there; an hour back... She drove well. She negotiated the city and the highway through traffic and construction. She didn't like the construction; but who does. She found parking place, interviewed, got the job and then drove us home.

Almost home, I realized that she was no longer mine. That she was in the driver's seat. Almost home she realized just how easy it was to drive off to college.

Now if the packing were as easy as the drive.
Got soap? Got contacts? Got coffee? You got the picture.