Via Media

Via Media

A German recipe for sardines

posted by awelborn

The reports that I’m reading on bloggers who are managing to update indicate that transportation is an enormous problem, as is food (the pilgrims are given tickets which they hand in for meals – apparently the lines are very long and food runs out), and many are worried how the crush would be handled once the Pope arrives and all the pilgrims converge on Cologne (which is today – and in fact, the day is mostly over as I type this, so I guess we’ll find out soon). It sounds like an unfortunate situation – I’m not a WYD afficianado or expert, but I wonder if Cologne is particularly ill-suited for this kind of gathering or if the numbers are simply so large now that no city can handle it? (I do think of Rome, however, during the funeral of John Paul II – hundreds of thousands of people came there, but I don’t recall hearing stories about an overwhelmed transport system)

However, in between stories of mob scenes, I also read stories of young people being challenged in the catechesis given by bishops, of appreciating the opportunities for Adoration and Reconciliation. So we’ll hope and pray, that in the end, for these young people, the good experiences outweigh the difficulties.

And is WYD for everyone? Is it heaven on earth? Of course not. When you get half a million youth together, you have a riot of mixed motives, of raging hormones, conflicting personalities and intensity. Take your local youth group or religious ed class and multiply by hundreds of thousands. I do think you’d find a higher proportion of seriously engaged youth at WYD, simply because of the trouble it takes to make the trip, but at the same time, there’s probably a good party vibe going on – in the context of exhaustion and discomfort.

But it’s definitely a good thing, and I’m really looking forward to what the Pope has to say to them…and to us.

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Therese Z

posted August 18, 2005 at 9:54 am

Amy, you’re right that the message of WYD pertains to all of us. Since I didn’t get my sorry ass to its knees until a couple of years ago, I FEEL like a youth in the faith, so I want to experience the Holy Father’s messages as a teachable moment for me too.

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posted August 18, 2005 at 9:58 am

EWTN is doing it live here:
He’s getting on his boat!

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posted August 18, 2005 at 10:08 am

I was WYD in Paris in ’97 and in Toronto in ’02. The food, accomodations, and transportation was not perfect, but that’s part of what makes a good pilgrimage. I’m quite sure that for most of these kids, these minor inconveniences will not outweigh the joy of WYD.

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posted August 18, 2005 at 10:18 am

Some of my best friends attended WYD in Toronto, Canada. The conditions they were in were terrible… they slept in a overcrowded gymnasium with no A/C, the weather was hot and humid, they had to go on a long pilgrimage that left everyone exhausted, it rained the day the Pope arrived and they had nothing to cover themselves with, etc… and yet, all of them returned very enthusiastic about the whole experience. The positive experiences far outweighed the physical dificulties, and it strenghtened their faith. So I’m very positive about WYD, no matter if the conditions are not exactly “ideal”. It really is a pilgrimage, after all, and as such, there’s bound to be obstacles.

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Dale Price

posted August 18, 2005 at 10:26 am

Cologne is a fine city, but if memory serves, it’s one of the smallest to host WYD. Couple that with the fact that it is the heart of the Ruhr industrial region, and you are going to have infrastructure and organizational snarls.
Still, it’s very modern with all the amenities, so I should think the problems are being ironed out.

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posted August 18, 2005 at 10:38 am

Such difficulties are appropriate for pilgrims.
One of my pet peeves is people who talk about going on “pilgrimages” to Rome or Lourdes or wherever, when they travel by airplane and air-conditioned bus, stay in a hotel, and eat in restaurants. That’s not a pilgrimage. It’s a vacation. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but call it what it is and don’t pretend to be somehow more righteous for having just bought a fancy vacation for yourself.
A pilgrimage used to be a sacrifice – long and arduous travel, at great personal risk, without nice hotels, nice transportation, or nice food. For the most part, they no longer exist.
Exhaustion and discomfort are good. They’ll keep the event from just being a pious occasion to tourism.

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posted August 18, 2005 at 10:43 am

Rome 2000 went very well. I was surprised considering the horror stories about Italian unpredictability. The city just decided to make all the trains and all the buses free for everyone, delegates or residents. FOr food, there were food stations all cooked on the spot! I remember the gigantic woks and spatulas that the cooks used to cook the pasta. The food was tasty too. My group was housed in a high school. They rigged outdoor showers right in front of the school and a busy street. Others stayed in church halls and a tent city was erected. It was organized and practical.
My friends told me that in Manila WYD, the Americans were housed in the richest neighborhood in the Philippines. In his group, each one was provided a car with a chauffeur to take them to the events. Their hosts even bought imported grapefruit because they saw in TV that Americans like to eat it for breakfast. Some even remodeled their houses for the delegates!

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carrie ryckman

posted August 18, 2005 at 10:47 am

My 16 year old daughter just called this morning and is having a great time. Their accomodations at a school were overcrowded, so she and another girl from their group were welcomed into a widower’s home. She’s been eating a lot a rolls which can be easily purchased on the out and it’s 75 degrees. She hasn’t complained once, although her voice is almost gone!

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posted August 18, 2005 at 10:49 am

In my experience with Rome WYD, I did not recall reading that fighting broke out or that a rape occured among the young delegates. With about 2 million delegates, I was a bit scared that something will go wrong and that it will make the news tarnishing the Jubilee. Maybe it was the biggest event without a crime happening among the delegates. We did not even see any gypsies at all. A roman told me that the city herded them out before the WYD.

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carrie ryckman

posted August 18, 2005 at 10:52 am

Whoops! I meant to say that it is a beautiful sunny day and 75 degrees.

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Bill H

posted August 18, 2005 at 10:57 am

My girlfriend called me from Cologne yesterday, and it sounds like transportation and food are a bit difficult. There’s a parish there hosting her group, though, and they’ve been quite good about making sure that they get at least one good meal a day.
It sounds wonderful, though! She spoke of going to afternoon prayers at one church in the city and having it absolute packed with young pilgrims engaged in adoration. And despite the public transit being overwhelmed, everybody is having a lot of fun with the whole affair, singing songs while they’re standing in line and what not. Wish I could have gone!

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Jane Noble

posted August 18, 2005 at 10:57 am

My youngest child is in Cologne – the fifth of my children to attend WYD (Denver, Paris, and Rome). Because of the amazing experience each of them have had, I’ve been willing to do all that is required to get them there (including washing cars, raking leaves, creating/selling PJPII memorial bracelets, and cleaning houses that were MUCH cleaner than my own). I also attended Rome WYD in order to enable my daughter to attend – who was too young to go without an adult.
If someone asked me what I have done as a mother that I am most glad I did and would recommend to every other Catholic mother – it would be ensuring my children attended WYD. Seeing other Catholic youth from around the world who love their faith, their Church, and their Pope – nothing else can compare when it comes to placing a love for Catholicism in their hearts.
And MY experience at WYD – it was life changing. And, yes, we were almost literally crushed in St. Peter’s Square, had to use bamboo sticks from neighboring farms to hold up emergency blankets to shield us from the scorching sun as we waited for the Pope, ate food that wasn’t all that great, walked 9 miles while carrying the next 2 days worth of food in a 40 pound box (who thought THAT one up?), slept on the floors of schools, showered in freezing cold water, etc. That was almost the best part – the effort we went through to get there and the shared difficulties while there just shed more light on the joy we felt in coming together.
AND let’s not forget the experience of staying in the homes of other Catholics in a foreign land – in Rome (and according to my daughter – in Cologne) the people of the small towns lined up on the side of the road and welcomed us with signs and waved American flags. They loved us already, cried when we left – all because we shared a common faith.
So, needless to say, I don’t think the problems discussed in the blogs are anything to be concerned about. It’s all a part of the exerience.

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Sandra Miesel

posted August 18, 2005 at 11:17 am

The RadTrads deeply hate WYD. This by itself would be a high recommendation.

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julie b

posted August 18, 2005 at 11:49 am

WYD may not be heaven, but I bet it is a glimpse of it! Wish I were there.

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Boniface McInnes

posted August 18, 2005 at 12:19 pm

The RAD Trads might, Ms. Miesel (I got it right this time!), but we worked rather hard here to send 5 young Trads of the “plain old” variety as part of Juventutem!

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posted August 18, 2005 at 1:01 pm

Logistical problems for the Germans!? That must be a horror for them, like the French offering guests Big Macs.

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posted August 18, 2005 at 1:20 pm

My friend went to WYD in Denver back in the day. Their van broke down on the way back- it over heated. The only coolant on hand? Holy water, blessed by JPII himself. Ever since, we’ve all joked about the Holy Church Van.

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Sandra Miesel

posted August 18, 2005 at 2:27 pm

Trads and RadTrads are two very different species. I have no problem with the former at all but the latter are an ugly bunch.

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posted August 18, 2005 at 5:32 pm

There’s a reason why pilgrims were given indulgences. They went through a lot of effort and discomfort.
There are still real pilgrimages today.
Here is one I have been longing to make for years. You have to walk at least 100 Km and somewhat longer if you go by bike (a judge friend of mine did that & is now going to church again) and some even do it on horseback. Many saints and kings have done the Camino and it’s thriving in our day.
If you do the entire traditional route it begins in Paris. Folks started out as soon as winter was over and wanted to be in Compostella on July 25, the feast of St. James & then had to get home before winter began again. That meant that not only was it a physicial feat, it was a sacrifice of a lot of time that could have been devoted to farming or otherwise earning your keep.
check it out here:

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posted August 18, 2005 at 7:01 pm

I’d like to do the Chartes pilgrimage. It’s 70 miles of walking and except for the oldsters most of the pilgrim sleep in tents on the way.

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posted August 18, 2005 at 8:00 pm

Heck, when I was a young lass, I’d sleep in parking lots and stand for hours in the hot sun (or the rain), packed into a stadium with thousands of others – just to see Pink Floyd or the Rolling Stones.
If I was willing to brush off that sort of discomfort to get a glimpse of Mick Jagger, I have no doubt that the WYD kids, gathered for a far nobler purpose, are having the time of their lives:-)

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posted August 18, 2005 at 8:14 pm

About the confusion, crowding, providing food, shelter and what-all . . .
If the Italians could manage, when the whole world seemed to show up for the late holy father’s funeral . . .
Then surely the Germans can manage this!

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