Diocesan News

One in Spirit: Queens Faithful Keep Vigil with WYD Pilgrims

By Emily Drooby

Queens mother Aurelia Tello says she was excited when she found out that her son, Adalfo, had been given the opportunity to attend World Youth Day.

“I got so excited,” she said. “I asked my son, ‘Do you want to go to Panama to see the pope?’ And he said yes! And I feel so happy.”

The proud mother and her other children have been getting a first-hand look at all of the festivities happening in Panama through photos and videos from her son.

While he’s been away, Tello has called her son to check in and see how he’s doing. “I called him and I said, ‘How do you feel?’ and he said, ‘Very good.’”

‘I Feel So Blessed’

When she asked if he was happy, he told her: “Yes! I’m very happy. I feel so blessed.”

“That makes me feel so good,” she said, smiling.

Her daughter, Hillary, was excited for her brother and the experience he has been able to enjoy.

“He’s going to learn a lot about God, and get closer to Him,” she said.

Viewing Party

On Saturday night, the Tellos joined others from the diocese at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish, Jamaica, for a World Youth Day viewing party. Attendees were able to watch and listen to Pope Francis’ vigil with young pilgrims at the St. John Paul II Field of Metro Park in Panama City.

One of the event organizers, Laura Ramirez-Galeas, is a two-time international World Youth Day veteran. Because of her incredible experiences, she wanted to make sure that the rest of her community had some idea of what it felt like to be a part of it.

“I can’t describe it,” Ramirez-Galeas said. “When you’re there, you don’t need to speak, you just know who you are and that you belong there.

‘We Are the Church’

“People don’t understand that we belong to this immense church, it’s not just the church that we go to go across the street. No, we are the Church,” she said.

In Jamaica, about 80 members of the Church in Brooklyn and Queens – from toddlers to teens and even senior citizens – came out for the viewing party, looking to feel some of the same sense of community as the young people gathered in field nearly 4,500 miles away.

“Even though we are not close together in the same place, we are one in spirit,” said event co-organizer, Claudia Cruz.