Young Spaniards Return WYD Marian Icon to Rome

Chaplain Expecting Abundant Fruits From Summer Event

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By Mercedes De La Torre

ROME, DEC. 16, 2011 ( On the occasion of Benedict XVI’s traditional Christmas meeting with university students Thursday, a World Youth Day icon was returned to Rome from Madrid.

The image of the Virgin Mary Sedes Sapientiae (Seat of Wisdom) traveled throughout Spain in preparation for the 2011 WYD.

Spanish Father Ángel Alba, staff member of the Vicariate of Rome’s university ministry, spoke to ZENIT about the importance of this event.

The icon was returned by a delegation from Madrid and a group of Spanish students in Rome. The Spanish chaplain explained that there are «four professors, a chaplain and some university students of Madrid, and together with them a numerous group of ‘Erasmus’ Spaniards [university students who enjoy an Erasmus scholarship to study in a European country] who are here in Rome. Some of them take part in movements of the Church, such as the Neo-Catechumens and other types of associations, Catholic Action, etc.. And on learning that this event existed, they gladly got together to pray and to be with other university students.»

Reflecting on the fruits of Madrid’s World Youth Day, Father Alba said: «I think that we have yet to digest all that the WYD implies for the Church in Spain in general. Just think that it is an event that also touches small villages where youth ministry has had no attraction and that, because of this event, because of the possibility of receiving people from other countries, such as Latin America, etc., have seen a particular enthusiasm resurrected.»

«I say that not enough time has yet passed to be able to make a more precise evaluation,» he said. But, he proposed, «the fruit is about to be gathered and I think it will be good, rich and abundant.»

Pablo López Molina-Niñirola, a Spanish student in Rome and one of the youths who participated in returning the icon, called it a great privilege to be able to be here and to carry the Virgin that has been in so many places of the world. He described the WYD as «a small oasis in the desert» — in the midst of a summer of intense study — «to be able to live the faith with so many young people.»

María del Pilar Alcolea Pina, of the capital of Murcia, also a student in Rome and part of the group, pointed out that it is «a lucky and unique opportunity to be in Rome to be able to take part actively with the Church and to carry the icon of Mary.»

Alcolea Pina stressed the importance of this experience in her life. «My daily life is to look at the Lord and to see what he wants from me and this is now maintained in my experience as an ‘erasmus,’ it enables me to enlarge horizons in preaching the Gospel and the Good News to all the world and in this international environment to be able to transmit that God is alive in Jesus Christ and that we can really be happy in this life.»

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