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Day 11 - World Youth Day
Day 11 - World Youth Day

Ok, its 05.58, its bloody freezing, morning dew has wet everything
through, including my boots, I have not been robbed though which is
nice. Got very little sleep last night, very cold, knackered and wet.

Well, morning is surprisingly nice once I have a nice hot coffee, the
official numbers for yesterday where 700,000, with similar numbers
arriving today, totally out of this world.

It is now 08.00 and morning prayer has just begun, it is nearly all in
song form. Very beautiful, listening and singing as I watch the mist
lift over the near-by tree's, the sun poking through the clouds forming
beams of light in the mist. There is so much beauty here, I’m afraid
most people are missing it. I regret not bringing a better camera so I
could share these images with others, I only ask that you use your
imagination, the music, the cool soft fresh morning breeze, the
atmosphere and sense of unity. Incredible. The main World Youth Day Mass
is due to start at 10.00.

It is now 08.57, the sun has gone the way of the dinosaur, and the cloud
is thickening, its not looking good, I’ve packed up so my stuff doesn’t
get wet, knowing my luck now though the sun will pop back out. The rain
has held off, the Holy Fathers Mass is about to start; and wow is it
starting. Have you ever heard a million voices singing the same song? I
have now, four times bigger than Glastonbury, this is something of such
power and force that the emotion can be felt all around us, one cannot
begin to imagine this without seeing for themselves. With 800 Bishops,
10,000 Priests and the Holy Father; God is truly with us, for Jesus says
when “two or three of you gather together in my name I will be with
you”, now there is a million of us. The Papal Mass was excellent, his
homily was so deep yet easy to understand, even though I was listening
to a translation over the radio. He talked about youths creating a new
community in the name of Christ. He talked and explained the Eucharist,
not to mention the symbolism of the magi in accordance with the world
youth day phrase 'we have come to worship him'. Very deep in a lot of
ways. Unfortunately the schoenstatt group had to leave during the Mass
as they had a plane to catch. The hymns where beautiful if not a little
long as most where sung in several languages. As soon as the Mass
finished we set off on the 10km (6 miles) walk back to the coach, this
may not sound like a lot but after only doing it the day before and also
carrying 20 kilo on our backs not to mention sleeping bags and things.
We were VERY knackered, but when we finally arrived the relief of
sitting down on the coach was incredible. The coach is now weaving very
slowly out of the network of roads which have been used as giant car
parks. We are now heading back to good old Ahrweiler to stay in a
convent, our host family went on holiday so they won’t be there, but I
am still looking forward to seeing the town and looking over its
beautiful vineyards one last time. Not to mention use the loo, a 6 mile
walk without loo's is not good. Traffic is kind of slow, there is nearly
a million people leaving Cologne, lucky we are on the side of Cologne
nearest Ahrweiler. Speed picked up a bit now..... We are on our
way...... Still not rained either. My shoulders are killing from all
that walking and flag waving. The flag waving was critical sometimes,
when there was so many people they were the only way you could find the
rest of the group. Seriously; it made Glastonbury look like a slumber

Ok, we were met at the convent with a hot meal and open arms. We also
met up with the sisters we were travelling with. They were as glad to
see us as we were them. We then freshened up and went for a reflection
session, which was nice. We are all sharing a room, girls in separate
room obviously. But after a hot meal and wash we are all feeling much
better. Today has been a very long and hard day, but by this time
tomorrow I hope to be writing the final entry.
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