We left our hotel at 8.30am to get to the site of the overnight vigil and final sending Mass, the Campo San Juan Pablo II (John Paul II Field), but ended up heading in the wrong direction. A very kind pick-up truck driver then gave us a lift to the end of the extremely long queue for the event. In the queue we met a small group that had come from the University of Leeds and had a great time chatting with them while we waited for the gates to open.
Once we’d made our way to our section, Fr Luke said Mass for us in the field and we were joined in this by some people from Mexico.
We had a few tickets that meant some of us where able to get closer to the stage, so we took the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham with us and she made it on to the big TV screen four or five times.
The evening vigil was a beautiful event and Pope Francis talked about how we should embrace life as it comes and say yes to God even though it may seem difficult. He used the phrase “only that which is loved can be saved” – highlighting the importance that love should have in our lives. The Pope reminded us that every time we fall, God helps us back up and that he is always there to help us.
After Pope Francis spoke, we took part in a time of adoration which ended with a special blessing from the Pope and a procession of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
There was music on until about midnight, after which we tried our best to get some sleep in the field! We were woken up at 6am ready for Mass said by the Pope who, at the end, announced that the next World Youth Day in 2022 will take place in Lisbon, Portugal.
After this, all that was left was to get back to the hotel in the midday sun. We made it back to the hotel in one piece and now have a 19-hour journey to get back home.
We have all really enjoyed our experience and are really looking forward to World Youth Day Lisbon 2022.
You can watch videos of all the main WYD events at: www.shalomworldtv.org/wyd2019
Pictured above is the East Anglia group at the final vigil, and Pope Francis at the sending Mass. Images courtesy of WYD Panama. You can see full picture galleries of the whole of World Youth Day on the official Flickr account.