Going to Catechesis

Robert reflects on his catechesis experience at World Youth Day.

English-language catechesis with Cardinal Mafi from Tonga (Photo: WYM)
English-language catechesis with Cardinal Mafi from Tonga (Photo: WYM)

The English catechesis was in a great place this morning… Well, the catechists I went to was in a good place. We had the bishop of Tonga – Bishop Mari, recently appointed by Pope Francis, and overtaking Cardinal Tagle as the youngest Cardinal.

He was really emphatic… Really passionate and interlaced lots of really wonderful stories in his talk. We had confession, Mass and a mix of sunshine and rain.

A Westminster pilgrim being interview at the English catechesis (Photo: WYM)
A Westminster pilgrim being interview at the English catechesis (Photo: WYM)

I love English. I love hearing English songs. Don’t get me wrong, I love songs from other countries, and have really enjoyed my time so far… But hearing about a thousand people singing mightily in English really lifts the spirits.

You know, it was brilliant, and it is strange that you can almost get used to going to great talk after great concert after great talk – You start to feel that you are almost in a different paradigm.

The sort of paradigm where over a million people chant the Pope’s name; where people sit in the rain for five hours just to get a chance of a selfie with the Pope; where people ignore the warnings of the police, the no-go-zone and a bunch of other things in their excitement.

Pilgrims smiling and waving to Pope Francis (Photo: WYM)
Pilgrims smiling and waving to Pope Francis (Photo: WYM)

And when your phone stops working seconds before the Pope comes past? Well, once you have conquered the desire to smash it to pieces, you stick it in your pocket and watch as the Pope goes past, a face in a sea of waving phones – and the Holy father, seeing you and presumably not realising that it isn’t deliberate… smiles. And waves.

Unrepeatable, awesome paradigm. See Pope, done. Been in an incredible crush of excited people, done. Rip your rain proof cagoule, done. Sleep, give me half an hour…