So today, I had a three-hour down time! I could walk around the Eucharistic City as a pilgrim! I didn’t have to be scouting, running around like crazy to find interviews and then shooting here and there. I could actually walk slowly and go anywhere I wanted! So I asked myself, what would any pilgrim at the International Eucharistic Congress need to do if they only had 3 hours to have a pilgrimage experience?
Well, this is what I did – first, I ate my lunch very slowly. I chatted with people, walked around. And then, I took with me a colleague who had been stuck in the editing room and never heard a single Catechesis or Witness talk (and who also had down time finally) for a tour of the Eucharistic City.
I showed him the Youth Space and my favourite spot in it – the Parlour. We also went over to the chicken-wire version of the Ark of the Covenant and filled out our Eucharistic pledges. I then showed him Pavillon Francois de Laval and, from a distance, the Congress Boutique that has an endless line constantly, at all times of the day!
I wanted to catch the Washing of the Feet at Place de la Vie du Monde, but there were only 208 spots for the 2:30 pm gathering, and we didn’t make it. So, we just went over to check out our Salt + Light exhibit in the same building, but first we went through the gazillion other exhibits in there, and managed to bump into old-time friends and acquaintances. By the way, a giant corn stopped me in my tracks. And talked to me – inside this giant cob of corn was a man who told me to check out the Development and Peace exhibit. What a way to get people’s attention!
After all this touring and socializing, it was time for what the two of us had both been waiting for --- Adoration and Confession! Yes, I believe these are staples for any pilgrim at a Eucharistic Congress. So off we went to Chapelle Don de Dieu. There was a group singing meditatively, and we sat at the front and prayed a decade of the Rosary after some time in silence and meditation. I was feeling so tired I was half asleep. And then I was ready for Confession (I won’t get into details about this now), and feeling energized, I was ready to get out and go!
We had to go back to the Salt + Light editing suite so that my colleague could continue on with his work. I still had time as a pilgrim for my break, and so I did what any tired pilgrim would do. I rested by taking a nap! I slept on a makeshift bed made up of a line of chairs, with a sandbag as a pillow. I fell asleep soon enough and was woken up by the editor asking me, “Which city was this person from?” I woke up disoriented, asking what’s happening and where I was. I realized that the editor was asking about one of my interviewees in Zoom.
The words “Which city was this person from?” were the words that ended my 3-hour break as a pilgrim. I woke up and it was back to work again. But very rewarding work. I continued in my role as floor director for live events, which I happily did later today for the ordination Mass of 12 wonderful new priests. What a beautiful ordination ceremony and what wonderful, wonderful people!!!
A new priest from Famille Marie-Jeunesse, whose name is Francis, had given an address at the end of the Ordination Mass. He thanked Fr. Thomas Rosica for putting World Youth Day 2002 together. What an honour for Fr. Tom to be recognized like that. And what a great honour for our Salt + Light team present at the ordination to have received a priestly blessing from him at the end of the reception. What a day to remember!