The Caribbean Catholic asked some questions of the pilgrims to world youth day 2011.
How was it?
Do you feel your life has been changed by the experience?
Are you proud to be a catholic?
How were your hosts?
Did you encounter any of the anti world youth day people/protesters?
Did you have a single most moving moment and what was it?Did it meet your expectations?
How was the rest of the group?
Drew Ramsingh of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Port of Spain talks about his World Youth Day Experience:
My experience at the World Youth Day was a really great one. My life has been changed by the experience as I have become strengthened in my faith. I am very proud to be a practising Catholic.
My hosts were an elderly couple who were very welcoming. Their children, who were in their 30s, were very friendly and provided a full Catholic Spanish family environment.
I didn't encounter any anti-World Youth Day people/protesters. Some of the other Trinidadian pilgrims encountered them however.
The single most moving moment for me was at the last English-speaking cathechesis session. I was so moved by the moment, seeing different cultures from countries across the world joining to celebrate after the mass in a small space, that is, in a chapel. The sight of this blend truly showed why Catholic means universal.
The rest of the group was very entertaining at times, and always kept me feeling like I was home in Trinidad so I was never home-sick.
God Bless you Drew.
Cherise also tells us about her experience:
I came back to Trinidad disappointed in the outcome of my World Youth Day Experience and I remember feeling the extreme need to restore my spirit to quiet and calmness upon my return. So extreme was it,that I stayed away from all duties and I placed myself in isolation for a while (actually about 3 weeks) - just to think.
And then I got an email. I was asked some important questions, 'what did Spain do for me?', 'Am I proud to be Catholic?' The headache started because I couldn't figure it out. (Yes Caribbean Catholic, you gave me a headache! Lol)
Then finally during a meeting at confirmation class last Saturday it dawned on me. The theme of WYD was, 'Firmes en el fey' Firm in the faith! I saw in my mind's eye, each moment where my faith was shaken in Spain, where I had every plausible excuse to turn away and because of that, I came back home confused. It took me that isolated while to see again the beauty of being catholic.
So yes, I am very proud to be Catholic!!! You see,we recognize that we all are sinners and we try to become better people despite contrary influences...and we pray. And we try to imitate Christ as in the way He loves. If we love as He loves, we won't turn away others but we would love them nonetheless. I know this sounds far-fetched. But I saw it so easy to turn away and to despise what and who is not of Christ. Hence the reason for my isolation period.
But before mass on Thursday, Sr Eunice asked me, 'Cherise,what would Jesus do?' I saw then the 'Firmes en el fey' banner in my mind. Our Church, our Faith emphasizes Love! That's what Jesus would do. He would love. Even on the Cross He loved. Here I saw that had it not been for my Catholic Faith, had I not been planted and built up, rooted in Christ Jesus, I would have turned away. The truth is, I didn't come back home confused, rather I came back rooted even more deeply in Christ, solid, unshaken and so sure of my Faith and the Rock on which I stand.
May God continue to bless you Cherise.
The Pilgrims publicly thank our Parish and Administrator for all the help they recieved in funding the trip. Again Cherise:
A special, special gratitude to my Parish. I know efforts were made in fund raising for myself, Drew and Runako, at a time when we had so much else of importance going on. From the bottom of our hearts we thank our Parish Administrator- Fr Assing and our parish priests who supported us and offered their prayers for our journey. We are deeply grateful to all those who helped with the fund raising and to all parishioners who kept us in their prayers while we were away...thank you.