By: Tiana DeLorge, Reporter
From August 16th-21st over a million Catholics gathered in Madrid, Spain for World Youth Day. The streets were packed with Catholics from all over the world and thousands of volunteers.
Among the million, were a group of 8 from Torrington. For are students at Torrington High School, including Amy Kostak, Dennis Cardenas, Zamir De Jesus, and Tiana DeLorge. They were lead on this journey by Torrington Cluster of Roman Catholic Parishes’ priest Fr. Carlos, and youth leader, Marlene Carrier.
Throughout the journey they heard keynote speakers on many different subjects, including the media and chastity. Among their favorites were Jason and Crystalina Evert, who spoke on chastity. “Crystalina was so real. She had actually gone through hard times in her life and really knew what she was talking about,” said Kostak. The group also celebrated mass with the Pope amongst over a million youths and went through the Stations of the Cross.
While walking back from watching the Pope’s arrival with thousands of youths on the streets of Madrid, the group stumbled upon an open spot in the crowd where they were able to see the Pope riding in the Pope Mobil from about 8 feet away.
They were also able to participate in the United States mass, as Kostak and DeLorge were a part of a group of 8 youths that brought up the gifts for the mass. The group also journeyed to Cuatro Vientos, an air base, where all the youths from World Youth Day gathered for a final Vigil and closing mass with the Pope.
When asked what his favorite part was from the whole trip, Zamir De Jesus said, “I loved meeting everyone from all the different countries! Everyone was so nice and friendly, and would just come up and talk to you or ask to a picture with you! They loved America, and when they saw our flag many people would ask if we could trade it with them, but we couldn’t because we only had one.”
“This was such a great experience for the kids! They were able to worship with many Catholics from all over the world and become closer to the Lord,” said Carrier.
World Youth Day has been going on since 1984 when Blessed Pope John Paul II initiated it. The next World Youth Day will be held in two years, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2013. The group hopes to attend and double its size.