8/19/2011 2:52:00 PM Oregon World Youth Day pilgrims in Madrid
Catholic News Service photo
Pope Benedict has lunch with young people in Madrid Aug. 19.
This week, 41 pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Portland are in Madrid to take part in World Youth Day. One of the pilgrims is Archbishop John Vlazny.
Pope Benedict will be in Madrid as will many other bishops. The big crowds will be made up of young lay people, learning their faith and worshiping.
The group spent two days in Barcelona — including the Benedictine monastery Montserrat — two days in Lourdes and then arrived in Madrid Aug. 16.
Three of the Portland pilgrims have up-front seats for an Aug. 20 night prayer vigil led by the pope. Leaders drew names at random and the seats went to an 18-year- old girl from Ascension Parish in Portland, a 26-year-old girl from St Joseph in Salem, and an 18-year-old boy from Seaside.
For those who need to stay home, there is an online virtual pilgrimage to World Youth Day via a social media tool developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Communications Department. There is a Facebook application and a website for non-Facebook users (http://www.virtualworldyouthday.org/ ) where individuals can create an avatar and use it to participate in the virtual pilgrimage. The application can be added to any Facebook fan page. A Google map provides visuals of where pilgrims are coming from throughout the world and another shows the pilgrims on a detailed map of Madrid.
Additionally, USCCB has created a Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Virtual-World-Youth-Day/155152027881863) where virtual pilgrims can go to create their avatar, view live video feed from Madrid, follow key twitter feeds and blogs and upload photos and videos.