ALCORCON City, Spain, August 22, 2011—The Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines will gather today some 425 World Youth Day (WYD) delegates they shepherded for the last two weeks in this country.
ECY executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta said the re-entry session of the ECY-Philippines delegation this morning at Polydeportivos Canaleja will be the last of the official activities of the group before they go on their own post-WYD trips.
Garganta said the delegates are expected to share with the group what they have experienced and learned during the days in the different dioceses of Spain and the week-long WYD celebrations in Madrid during the re-entry session.
“We hope that the grace that we got from our WYD experience will grow in our pilgrims, enough to bear fruit that they can share with their fellow youth in the parishes, organizations and families,” he said.
The CBCP official said the re-entry session is important to guide the pilgrims in discerning the value of the sacrifices, inconveniences, and pains that they experienced in the WYD to their lives.
It was recalled that Garganta and the ECY delegation secretariat received numerous complaints from pilgrims about their accommodation and the busy schedule of the WYD. He said a lot of pilgrims complained about being nauseated, sprained or physically exhausted because of the long hours of walking to get from one pilgrim site to another.
“These sacrifices and inconveniences are part of their witnessing to the Catholic faith. It will be sad to know that our pilgrims won’t discover the merit of what they experienced and only remember this WYD with the problems they met and issues they figured into,” he added.
Members of the ECY-Philippines delegation arrived in Madrid from August 9 to 11 and spent five days in the different parishes under their host diocese, Coria Caceres.
Delegates from ECY- Philippines and other nationalities that were hosted by Coria Caceres were brought to the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal.
The ECY-Philippines delegates left Coria Caceres last August 25 to get to Madrid where they were accommodated at Deportivos Los Cantos and Polydeportivos Canaleja in this city. They attended catechetical sessions with different bishops from around the world, toured Spain’s majestic Churches and historical buildings and museums, aside from getting the chance to see Pope Benedict XVI during the Welcoming Ceremonies last August 16 and the Closing Mass yesterday morning here.
After the WYD, the 39 subgroups of ECY-Philippines are expected to go on their own post-WYD trips. While others will continue their pilgrimage to other countries in Europe, others will return to the Philippines directly from Spain. (YouthPinoy)