Thursday, September 1, 2011

We are Catholic

Dear friends, may no adversity paralyze you.  Be afraid neither of the world, nor the future, nor of your weakness.  The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, his name will continue to resound throughout the world.

- Pope Benedict XVI

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My next Camino

This has been quite an unbelievable summer.  I got to visit Lourdes, France, walk the Camino Francés, visit Fatima, Portugal, walk the Vía de la Plata and attend World Youth Day in Madrid.  I am extremely blessed to have the opportunity to do all this in the span of 3 months.  I thank God for this gift.

Now that my summer has come to a conclusion, I am embarking on a new "camino."  This time, I'm headed to New York City where I am entering the Community of the Franciscans of the Renewal as a postulant.  I have been discerning religious life for a number of years.  And after working as a lay missionary for Catholic Christian Outreach Canada for 3 years and pilgrimaging through France, Spain and Portugal for 3 months,  God has revealed to me a new path, which I look forward to with great anticipation.

So for the next year starting September 6th, 2011, I will be living in New York as a postulant for the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.  During this time, I will not have access to internet (no computers, no tv's and no cell phones).  If you wish to contact me, you may reach me by good old-fashioned post mail at:

Mark Ho
St. Joseph Friary
523 West 142 St.
New York, NY
USA 10031

Pax et bonum,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More WYD events

Our last evening at the Love & Life Centre having a picnic supper.

We had to have a photo of these magnificent women who have dedicated their lives fully in service to God and the promotion of life.

Leaving our host family's home on our way to the Papal vigil at Cuatro Vientos.

 We had to take refuge from a suddent rain and wind storm.

Cuatro Vientos, where the Papal vigil and Closing mass the following morning were held.

This is where we slept overnight at Cuatro Vientos - under the safety of a tent in case it rained again.

A band of police officers working at WYD.  Officers from all over Spain were mobilized for WYD security.

Our host family and fellow WYD pilgrims.

Our last photo together.  Our 3 month pilgrimage has come to an end.

Buenas noches, España.  Hasta luego.

WYD events

World Youth Day 2011 Madrid has been quite a ride.  I don't think we realize what the magnitude of this event will do for Madrid and for Spain as a country.  Only time will tell.  But for now, I can tell for sure that many young people had a re-awakening and deepening of faith.

This is the Eucharistic Adoration (Summit) that was organized by Catholic Christian Outreach and presided over by Fr. Simon Lobo, CC.

This is the Love & Life Center, the main English-speaking site organized by the Knights of Columbus and the Sisters of Life.

Daily mass with dozens of bishops and hundreds of priests and religious and thousands of lay people.

Awaiting the arrival of  the Holy Father, Pope Benedict.

The streets were full of young pilgrims.

CCO had to have a short meeting upon learning that the Papal motorcade had been diverted due to security reasons.

We had to settle with seeing the Pope on the giant screens.

Sitting and having supper on the street - life of a WYD pilgrim.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Madrid Metro before and during WYD

This was our train before WYD officially began.

This was Day 2 of WYD.

Honoring Pilipinas & Rizal

Before WYD started, we took some time to visit Filipino places and things in Madrid.

There is a subway station called "Islas Filipinas."

On Avenida Las Filipinas, there is the "Monumento a Rizal."

This yellow building behind us is where Rizal lived during his stay in Madrid.  It is also where the Katipunan idealogy was conceived by Rizal and his friends.

WYD is here!

Outside the Palacio de los Deportes, the Canadians gather for their National Prayer.

Day 1 of World Youth Day at the main English speaking site.

Cardinal Pell of Australia gave the catechesis and mass on Day 1.

Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller gave the catechesis and mass on Day 2.  Deacon Pablo proclaimed the gospel reading.