Michael Rossmann, SJ, a Jesuit scholastic from the Wisconsin Province, is with the millions of young people at World Youth Day in Madrid, after having participated, with many of his Jesuit brothers, in the "Magis" Program of Ignatian spirituality in Loyola, Spain. Michael is also reporting on his experiences in Madrid for The Huffington Post.
On a deeper level, many expressed the significance of what it meant to be a part of something much larger than themselves, as was evident in sharing the same faith and holding the same convictions, whether praying to God, Dios, or Dieu.
Many of those from the U.S. who spoke only English were humbled by the language abilities of their counterparts from other countries, who commonly could understand their new friends from the U.S. Many of the Spaniards, however, were not prepared for the name Ana, with which they were very familiar, to be pronounced with the heavily nasal-centered Wisconsin accent that these college students from Milwaukee used. Overly accenting the 'Great Lakes A' sound and pinching one's nose became the common form of saying this name throughout our week together.
Many expressed their gratitude for having an experience that a very small percentage of people would ever get to enjoy and also expressed their hope for humanity in being able to overcome difference and come together as friends based on their time on the southern coast of Spain.
The 27 of us who shared this past week together now join what will likely be more than one million young people by the end of the week and continue to deepen in the understanding of the global reach of the Catholic Church and connect with peers from distinct places but who often share much in common.