Saturday, 1 September 2007

Pope Benedict is arriving at Loreto today for The Agora' of the young Catholics. Loreto is a Holy Shrine to the Virgin Mary and is also 20 minutes by car from my village. I often go there with my mum and before coming to England my friend Marghe dragged me there to confession and mass. In the past my village organised a pilgrimage to Loreto and I went once. We left at 2 in the morning and we arrived at Loreto at around 830. It was a great experience, tiring but worth doing.

Inside the Holy house, which is believed to be the house where the Virgin Mary was born and received the annunciation, people from all Italy and from all the world come to pray and ask for help. The house is small and always crowded with people. I'm always teary when I'm in there because I can feel the presence of Mary and God very strongly, and I feel it in all those people who are there, who come from afar to bring their pains and sufferings before the Virgin. It's a great place.

My dad, being a volunteer fireman, spent the last month in Loreto to set up the camp and tents and yesterday the rain and the wind blew them out.

This is one of the moment when I really really miss Italian TV. I will miss the mass tomorrow and all the coverage. I've just read on the web that this will be the first time the Pope will answer people's questions on TV. I'll ask my sister to record the mass but it won't be the same.

In my village there are lots of young Catholics from all Europe. They are sleeping in the gym, in the convent and some families offered their houses. My mum said that it's really nice to see all these young people around, they are really cheerful, they play music and sing all the time.

I can feel the energy and the emotions of this big event. I remembered watching the Mass of the World Youth Day in Rome (my sister was there together with some friends) and it was amazing the energy, the joy, the strength, the faith of all those people. It was amazing being able to watch the event on TV, participate and being unite with the people in Rome. I was really moved and teary throughout the celebration. It was a strong moment when I felt part of this big family.