Let’s just say this is one of the most interesting experiences as a pilgrim.

The mass starts at 8.00pm at the Cibeles Square.

A group of us pilgrims are meeting up with all the other Aucklanders at the Sol metro near the public square at 7pm. We have our flags in the air for the team to see us.

While we are waving our flags, around 100,000 plus pilgrims are marching their way to the Cibeles Square.

We begin to walk towards the Cibeles Square and realise that it is packed full of pilgrims. It looks like a million pilgrims filling the streets and sidewalks.

As we walked towards the crowd, we were squashed from every angle. I knew we going to experience a tight situation but this one was beyond my expectation. It was around 35degrees of Spanish heat and everyone was sweaty and smelly. Keeping the group together was a hard task because there are so many people.

We didn’t make it to the square, we were stuck by a huge crowd of pilgrims. You could see some pilgrims climbing on top of bus shelters and climbing on top of traffic lights.

The opening was crazy full of people but at the same time, the pilgrims were calm and there was no trouble.

We couldn’t go any further so we ended up sitting on the sidewalk and saw the huge screen displaying the mass.

I witnessed a few incidents where some pilgrims were claustrophobic and some fainted. A group would help these victims by taking them to open space. It was really difficult for them because there were so many pilgrims bunched up. It was intense but this was a test for us pilgrims to join together to share the Eucharist and the Holy Mass.

So many obstacles, but I was reminded of our people back home praying for us and also the support to get all the way here.

Attitude and patience was also a huge task for me. Also, just accepting any unexpected issues that have interfered with our plans. It was all about being calm during the storm.

Thank you all for your support. 🙂

Hasta Luego

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