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Vigil Saturday

The last few days have been absolutely crazy. Thursday the Pope arrived in Madrid and we were right smack in the middle of it. We waited for hours at La Plaza de la Independencia in 100+ degree heat. To say it was a hot was like saying the cast of the Jersey Shore are only a little dumb. People were bursting into flames due to excessive friction. As the time drew near for the Pope to arrive the crowds got tighter, but it wasn’t too bad and everyone got along pretty well. Of course, I had a few issues that I will address. Number one, to the Canadian lady who was sitting in front of us. There was no need to keep all your chairs in the middle of our area so that your space wouldn’t be violated. Pretty impressive Kung Fu grip you had on one of those chairs that didn’t allow people to get closer. Number two, Hey French girls, don’t act like you didn’t realize that we hadn’t been standing there much longer than you and that you totally didn’t sneak your way up front. That wasn’t the worst of it. After the Pope arrived and left the plaza in the Popemobile, the push to get out of the plaza became an ordeal. To the women that thought that bringing babies to the whole thing was a good idea, here’s a piece of advice, stop having children for now, till you figure out how to care for the ones you nearly killed due to the crowds and excessive heat. We finally ended up walking in the opposite direction of our hotel. The crowds were lighter and the walk was safer, with regards to crowds, but was significantly longer. It seemed like we got back to our hotel in the center of Madrid, by way of Barcelona. It took a long time. Friday was a day of recovery. Easy walks to the Museo del Prado and good eating hopefully has prepared us for the day ahead. Here is the plan. 3:30 start our journey to the area where we will camp out tonight for the Vigil. Matt will be right up near the Pope, as he was selected from millions of people to have that honor. I will be with the rest of our group. It is going to be a long 24 hours, but totally looking forward to it. Let you know how it goes.

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Catholics in Israel

Today everyone who hadn’t arrived in Madrid, got here. And when I say everybody, I mean everybody. I was expecting to run into Lourdes, though I know she isn’t here. There are Catholics in the Congo, there are Catholics in Russia and yes, there are Catholics in Israel. If you think about Catholics in Israel, it shouldn’t be too surprising, if you consider that the first Catholics are from there and the person who started the faith was born there as well.
We took a tour today of Madrid and everyone is super nice and festive, happy to be at something that makes Woodstock look like a school play. After the tour, it was back to the hotel to rest up for the opening Mass. We began the walk to Cibeles at around 6:40pm and arrived around 15 minutes later. We were surrounded by people, nothing, but people. It was festive, it was amazing and this is only the start of the Festival. The Cardinal of Madrid served. It was surreal to say the Our Father with so many people, and hearing it in every language you can think of. Then to offer the Sign of Peace to so many people you don’t even know was indescribable. All in all, quite an experience. Well, tomorrow it’s off to Avila for the day. See you when we get back

August 14th, 2011

Well, the time is near. Last minute packing before Matt and I start our journey. It’s a little bittersweet, because Lourdes and Sarah won’t be with us, but this is exciting nevertheless. I view this as an opportunity to have time with my son before the time comes that bribery will be the best way to get him to go anywhere with me. Getting back to Lourdes. We have spent the last 19 years adding years to each others lives, but we have never been apart for 10 days before, so I do feel a bit out of sorts without her with me. Sarah, a part of me that I’ve grown quite used to, will be absent for 10 days, as well. As you all know, she has been attached to my hip since the day she was born, and while I joke about the fact that she will make a great 1st wife, I’m really going to miss her. Having said all the right things, I can say that I’m really excited about this trip. It’s a spiritual journey for me and I hope to return rejuvenated. For Matt it could really be life changing, as he prepares to embark on the next adventure in his life, which will take place next year after high school graduation. I don’t know what that will be, but whatever it is, I hope that the next 10 days will help influence his decisions. Well, I’ll keep it short. Look for Facebook pics and my next entry should be from Heathrow in London. God bless and talk to you soon. Madrid 2011!!

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