“We have finally arrived,” he wrote on Aug. 16. “After three years of anticipation since the last World Youth Day, hundreds of thousands of Catholic young people have descended upon Madrid for the festivities surrounding World Youth Day, which officially starts this evening with an opening Mass in the heart of downtown Madrid.”
Before arriving in Madrid, Rossmann participated in the Jesuit-sponsored program Magis, where nearly 3,000 young people from Jesuit universities and parishes from around the world were sent out in groups to participate in service projects or walking pilgrimages.
Rossmann spent a week with 26 other pilgrims living and working with African immigrants who labor in agriculture on the southern coast of Spain.
“This is the first trip to Europe for many of the students I am accompanying and is certainly the most intimate encounter with people from other countries,” he wrote. “While speaking different languages at times hindered communication, boundaries quickly broke down in sharing the common difficulty of trying to fall asleep while sharing a gym floor with snorers who were heard by all people, no matter the native tongue.”
Rossmann continued, “On a deeper level, many expressed the significance of what it meant to be a part of something much larger than themselves, as was evident in sharing the same faith and holding the same convictions, whether praying to God, Dios, or Dieu.”
Read more of Rossmann’s reflections at the Huffington Post. Below, you can view Rossman’s video with pilgrims he chaperoned to the southern coastal town of Roquetas de Mar in Spain to work working the elderly. Follow along with the Magis and World You Day pilgrims and their Jesuit chaperones on our microsite at www.jesuit.org/wyd.