Program #0115 for Wednesday, August 17, 2011: World Youth Day Pilgrims and Leaders

August 17, 2011

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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Fr. Matt Williams

Today’s guest(s): Dom Bettinelli, Sister Olga Yaqob, Danny Menardi and Allison Daley

Today’s topics: Continuing coverage of World Youth Day 2011 live from Madrid.

Summary of today’s show:Scot is joined by Father Matt Williams, Dom Bettinelli, Sister Olga Yaqob, Allison Daley, and Danny Menardi from Madrid to discuss the ongoing events of World Youth Day 2011.

1st segment: Scot welcomed everyone back to the show to hear more coverage of World Youth Day 2011 directly from Boston pilgrims in Madrid. Scot welcomed Fr. Matt Williams and Dom back to the program. Fr. Matt said the most impressive thing to him about the pilgrims so far is the reality of the young people’s witness to not only each other but to random people from all over the world. He said that even in the airports, the joy of the pilgrims was infectious and made people around them ask about it. They were able to discuss their faith, and one person even asked about how he might be baptized. Fr. Matt continued saying that their group got to Madrid before many pilgrims, so it was good to have some extra time to gather just as Boston pilgrims and watch the city fill up. On Sunday night, the Cardinal consecrated the young people on the trip to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Fr. Matt continued, saying it was incredible to see almost 500,000 people fill up the streets and squares for Mass on Tuesday night – and that the organizers were still getting new registrations for more pilgrimages. Scot asked Fr. Matt about what goals the Office of the New Evangelization had for the pilgrims. Fr. Matt replied that the first goal is for the youth to rediscover the life of Christ within them, and to hear the invitation to vocation – that God has a special plan for their lives, whether it be religious life or a lay vocation.

Scot asked Fr. Matt to describe the opening Mass – Fr. Matt said his Spanish is a bit rusty so it is sometimes difficult to follow along, but said it was amazing to concelebrate a votive Mass of Blessed Pope John Paul II and feel his spirit and witness still alive in the event that he started. Scot brought up a quote from Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid at the Mass on Tuesday saying that the current youth are “the Benedict XVI generation” – many of the youth attending World Youth Day now might not even have much memory of who Blessed John Paul II was. Fr. Matt said the youth understood their call to be living witnesses and bring the Good News to everyone.

2nd segment: Sister Olga of the Eucharist joined Scot and discussed the group from Boston University that she is leading in Madrid. She said she is thankful for the opportunity to work with them again, even though she completed her work at Boston University last month. There are 34 young men and women in the group, she said, and it was awesome to see the excitement of the youth yesterday at the opening Mass. She said for some people, it was deepening existing faith, but for some it was a new reconversion to the faith. Scot asked Sister Olga to describe her message at a Theology on Tap event held just before the show for the group members over 21. Sister Olga said she spoke about devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – “how to be a man or woman after His own heart.” She chose this theme because the Holy Father will consecrate all the youth of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and wanted the youth to be prepared for that event. Sister Olga said Pope Benedict is calling young people to be firm and strong in their faith, and that the best way to do that is to return to the Heart of Jesus.

Sister Olga said she is also encouraging the youth to take every opportunity to be with Jesus through Adoration of the Eucharist. She said that many of the young adults are taking time out to visit the many side chapels and local churches that have perpetual Adoration for the next week. Scot highlighted a picture from George Martell that showed the massive crowds at the catechesis session with Cardinal George Francis of Chicago:

Scot asked Sister Olga if it was difficult to find time away to pray quietly or reflect on the day’s events. Sister Olga replied that many of the youth were using the time spent in Adoration to do exactly that – even in that crowded church during the catechesis session, there was a side chapel where pilgrims could go to spend time with the Lord quietly. She said even during the question and answer session, many youth took advantage of the time for quiet meditation.

Sister Olga described her two favorite moments of the pilgrimage so far. Her first was the private pilgrimage to Avila with 110 of the youth from Boston, setting the prayerful tone for the rest of the week before the massive crowds came to Madrid. Her second favorite moment was the pilgrimage to Toledo with Cardinal Seán, especially that he traveled on the tour bus with the youth and joined them for walks and lunch. Sister Olga said it was beautiful to see the Cardinal shepherding part of his flock.

3rd segment: Scot was joined by Allison Daley, one of the pilgrims from the Boston University group. She is going into her senior year and has been active with the Catholic Center at Boston University since she was a freshman. After some technical difficulties, Allison said she has always wanted to be on a World Youth Day pilgrimage. That desire was sparked by World Youth Day being in her home town, Denver, when she was a child. Scot asked Allison to describe some of the highlights of being present at World Youth Day so far. She described that her favorite part so far was visiting the Carmelite monastery in Avila. Allison said that even though the sisters were cloistered and the group couldn’t physically see the sisters, the group felt blessed and empowered. She said the witness of the sisters showering the group with gifts and prayers, even though they didn’t meet them, was indicative of the best of being brothers and sisters in Christ.

Allison said her sister asked her to take a picture of the crowd “so she could see what 2 million people looks like.” Allison said that even the Mass last night with only 500,000 people was incredible – it is almost impossible to imagine what it looks like to see people as far as you can look. She said the camaraderie between the country groups was always cheerful, and that countries cheered back and forth for each other as they passed by. She said Cardinal George focused in his catechesis about the name of Jesus – how God gave us His name so that we could know Him, trust Him, and call on Him by name. She also said the questions asked by the crowd very very deep. She finished by saying that the event she was most excited for on the trip is the upcoming consecration on Saturday night.

4th segment: It’s time to announce the winner of the weekly WQOM Benefactor Raffle. Our prizes this week are a copy of Peter Herbeck’s book When the Holy Spirit Comes in Power and a copy of Pray and Never Lose Heart by Sister Ann Shields. This week’s winner is Francis Bane from Watertown, Massachusetts. Congratulations Francis!

If you would like to be eligible to win in upcoming weeks, please visit For a one-time $30 donation, you’ll receive the Station of the Cross benefactor card and key tag, making you eligible for WQOM’s weekly raffle of books, DVDs, CDs and religious items. We’ll be announcing the winner each Wednesday during The Good Catholic Life program.

5th segment: Scot welcomed Danny Menardi, another Boston University student traveling with Sister Olga on the pilgrimage. Scot asked Danny about a cheer for Cardinal Seán that Sister Olga had referenced earlier in the show – Danny said that their group was very lively and sometimes noisy. Danny and Allison sang their chant for Cardinal Seán – he said that at first, he wasn’t sure if the Cardinal would be ok with it, but when the Cardinal smiled they all laughed. Danny said the experience of praising the Lord through music in public was one of the most unbelievable experiences so far, even singing and playing with groups from other countries. Danny described a day in Toledo where they were playing and singing in front of a Cathedral, and other groups came up and started singing in Italian and other languages, and even the deaf apostolate pilgrims were signing. He said the unity was a beautiful experience.

6th segment: After some technical difficulties, Scot started the final segment by reading a quote from the homily at the World Youth Day opening Mass:

John Paul II conceived World Youth Day as a valuable instrument of the new evangelization. Our Holy Father Benedict XVI as well.

Dear young people: you need to live this Eucharistic Celebration of the World Youth Day, saying thanks to the Lord, for being called from this moment to become his disciples and witnesses! Do not doubt it! Jesus Christ shows you the way and the aim of the real happiness. Not only to you; but also to your fellows and friends who moved away from religious practice and, even, from their faith or who do not have any knowledge about it. Jesus is searching you to put down roots in the heart of young people of the Third Millennium. Live the celebration as the great Prayer of the Church, which offers the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ Crucified and Resurrected to the Father as your own, for the salvation of all people ; and in the Eucharistic Communion of his Body and Blood do not reject that he will make you as part of himself. Keep in mind during these days that the Lord, through the Pope, is going to ask you:

Do you accept the wonderful and beautiful challenge of “the new evangelization” of your young peers?

Answer him yes, remembering that vibrant and brave call of John Paul II in the Homily on Monte del Gozo on the 20th of August, 1989:

“Do not be afraid to be saints”! “Let Christ reign in your hearts”! Answer him yes with a complete hope and a generous opening to the big life’s goals, as it is typical to young people. Answer the renewed call of Benedict XVI with a clear and coherent engagement of life! You can evangelize with words and works, today more then ever.

Scot said one of the most powerful things to him for this World Youth Day was the message that the young people attending are not just the future of the Church, they are also the present – youthful witness can help renew the faith of people of all ages. Scot was then rejoined by Danny Menardi, who said that while he doesn’t know what to expect from the Vigil on Saturday he is excited that there will young people excited about Jesus, Cardinal Seán who is excited about Jesus, and Jesus himself through the Eucharist. He said it doesn’t really matter where they camp out – the prayer and worship is the most important thing to the group.

7th segment:

Scot was joined again by Fr. Matt Williams to wrap up the day’s coverage of World Youth Day. Fr. Matt said that the faith alive in both Allison and Danny is inspiring to all around them. He said that this encounter with witnesses is really at the heart of World Youth Day, inspiring all and teach the way to holiness and live for Heaven. Fr. Matt finished by saying that the events for tomorrow include a catechesis and Mass with Cardinal Seán, welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to Madrid, and receiving his apostolic blessing in their first experience with him.

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