I was traveling this past week with the Dutch cross of the World Youth Days which was given to young people by St. Pope John Paul II in 1984. It was a kind of mini WYD. It was not a 'fun' week. It was not a 'fun' week. It was not a 'joyful' week. It was a joyful week.

The tour went through southern and eastern Holland in preparation for next year's World Youth Days in Lisbon. We came to different places and situations. Sometimes exuberant with many young people. Sometimes intimate with a few young people. We took the 4-meter high cross in the bus and brought it to the young people. We were received with great enthusiasm. It was also personally a beautiful experience of my faith.

I met many old acquaintances, but also made many new friends. It really felt like the WYD. We slept in different places. Often I didn't know how and what. Everything was arranged, and yet it felt like nothing was arranged. The great thing is that we were given food and a place to sleep, but the specifics of that were only revealed at the last minute. Combined with the joy, that felt like it was a kind of mini-WYD.

I have been proclaiming for 4 years that the WYD in Panama were my last. I'm 32 now, and a bit on the old side. But now I am beginning to have intense doubts about going again. In what form I don't know yet. But the joy you experience is addictive.

We often celebrated Mass, or were at worship. One worship has stayed with me. Namely that I had no connection with Our Lord. In fact, I was answering emails. I was dealing with a major glitch with my work, which I didn't have time to resolve and also didn't have the ability physically to do so.

Today the day after, I am busy at work. I don't have time to enjoy the wonderful week behind me. With today's stress, it feels like I was welcoming Jesus last week while itinerant and am experiencing a kind of Good Friday today. The contrast from joy to stress is quite stark.

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