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One and a Half Million Young People Celebrate Their Faith at World Youth Day


The young pilgrims to World Youth Day had many opportunities to celebrate their faith during their time in Madrid for World Youth Day 2012. Holy Cross Family Ministries, in conjunction with the Knights of Columbus, the Sisters of Life, Salt & Light Television, and several other co-sponsors offered many events at the Love and Life Center in the heart of Madrid.

On Wednesday evening a “Marianfest” was held at the center featuring opening commentary by Msgr.MarianFest Chavez, the Canon of the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico, and musical performances by world-renowned singer, Dana, as well as Danielle Rose, Alex Acha and Luis Alfredo Diaz. Luis is the Director of Family Rosary – Spain. For a video clip of the concert:

Pilgrims were also ministered to each day at “Casa de Maria,” the Marian Chapel created exclusively for World Youth Day. With original music by Luis Alfredo Diaz, a unique presentation of the Luminous Mysteries was interspersed throughout the praying of the Rosary.

Religious and staff also assisted with the Café at the Love and Life Center, the Marian art exhibit, and the Vocations center.

Father John Phalen, CSC, President of Holy Cross Family Ministries, participated in a panel speaking on “How to Pray,” providing catechesis for the pilgrims. Father John focused on the Rosary as a way to contemplate the life of Christ with Mary, giving examples of the how the mysteries have been revealed in his own life.

“The Rosary helps us spend time with our dearest friend, Jesus Christ,” said Father John. “It marks the rhythm of human life, as Blessed John Paul II said, ‘Our hearts are restless till they rest in God.’”

Father Willy Raymond, CSC, National Director of Family Theater Productions, also participated in a catechesis panel for the pilgrims. Well-known singer, Dana, and Father Barron, long-time friends of Holy Cross Family Ministries also participated in the panel.

Holy Cross Family Ministries was well represented at many other events, including an event with the philharmonic orchestra and other celebrities. Father Willy Raymond, CSC, and Matthew Marsden were invited to participate in the readings for this event in honor of Pope Benedict. Marsden, well-known supporter of Family Theater Productions, is known for his roles in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Rambo, Black Hawk Down and many other films. Marsden appears in Family Theater’s production, Rosary Stars: Praying the Gospel, as he shares a personal reflection on the Luminous Mystery, The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God.

Other mission staff participating in World Youth Day were Father Jim Phalen, CSC, and Father David Guffey, CSC, Tony Sands, and Elizabeth Ponce. From our international offices, Fathers Pascal Garcon, CSC, and Fred Jenga, CSC, National Directors in France and East Africa respectively, also participated in the Casa de Maria.

Clarence Gilyard, Board member of Holy Cross Family Ministries, supported and participated in World Youth Day. Gilyard is best-known for his roles as Cordell Walker in the long-running television show Walker, Texas Ranger and as Conrad McMasters in Matlock.

For inspiring pictures and video of young people from around the world:

“It was amazing to see 1.5 million young people joyful and attentive to our Holy Father,” said Father John Phalen. “They were fully living out the theme for World Youth Day, ‘Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith.’”