| 'A spark that lit up my faith'
This was my first experience of World Youth Day, and it was completely unexpected. Though I understood the circumstances of a pilgrimage, every aspect of the trip was a surprise. During this trip I encountered various trials, struggles and obstacles. But through it all it brought me back hungry, wanting to know more about my faith, and most importantly, God.
On this trip, there were several life-changing experiences. The most memorable experience in this extravaganza of miracles is the moment I laid my eyes on the pope. He was passing by in his popemobile, waving and smiling with a burst of enthusiasm. As he passed, he was only 5 or 6 feet away from me. It was a short glance, but my eyes locked on him and nothing else. Though this moment was a couple seconds long, it seemed like a lifetime. In that, something triggered in me as he lifted up his hand to bless all of us. This overran all the marvelous testimonies and teachings I had heard that same week. Nothing more prominently could have invited me to pick up my cross, and answer the calling of the Lord. The pope's invitation had put up a spark that lit up my faith for the Lord, and lit up my heart to passionately answer His call and do His will.
Though I am a youth minister and I am used to going to retreats, this was beyond anything that I could ever comprehend. This pilgrimage became a beacon of light for this generation and I wanted to be a part of it. I believe that a revolution has begun, and it's time to make God's name known. I came to this pilgrimage with an open mind, wanting anything that God could give. In return, God gave me a new understanding, a future and a hope.
(Aaron Cornejo, 16, is a junior at Heritage High School, a youth minister for YFL (Youth for Family and Life) and "a proud, devoted parishioner of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Brentwood.")
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