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UST Pilgrims Return From World Youth Day

UST  World Youth Day Pilgrims Return from SpainNine University of St. Thomas students, accompanied by Fr. Mike Buentello, CSB, and Sr. Damien Marie Savino, FSE, joined nearly two million Catholic youth in Madrid, Spain for a transformative three week trip of prayer, sacrifice and pilgrimage.  After traversing the famous Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain and attended World Youth Day in Spain, they joined Pope Benedict XVI and Catholic representatives from across the world in Madrid. 

The students included Claudia Arguelles, Joseph Bedell, Charles Borromeo, Yesenia Guzman, Jennifer Monroy, Mayra Morales, Stephanie Rivera, Blue Secatero and Steffani Rush. They returned to Houston last week – on fire with their faith, ready to share the Gospel and with many positive words about the trip.

Yesenia Guzman, junior : “I was told before I went on this Pilgrimage my life was going to be transformed and my path in life would be clearer. At first, among all the chaos, I could not distinguish God's voice from all of the noise, hunger, pain and fatigue of the Camino and the masses of people at World Youth Day. Now I feel a sense of relief, renewal and revival. I did not know how much my soul needed to be fed by the beauty of nature, friendship, kindness and prayer. This journey has opened my heart to love and my eyes to truth.”  

 Joseph Bedell, junior: “This trip to Spain has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  This was my first time in another country.  I didn’t speak the language and it was a completely different culture, but that is why the trip was so memorable – it was so different from everything I am accustomed to in everyday life. Before Spain, I was absorbed in school and uninterested in volunteering or helping youth through faith-based ministries.  After going to Spain and World Youth Day, I have a drive, a passion inside of me and a yearning to do more - to go to FOCUS youth conferences, to volunteer at my Church with the Life Teen program and to volunteer at the next World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.  God has blessed me with so many gifts in my life; it is only right to share them.”

Watch a video of the UST Pilgrims at World Youth Day produced by St. Thomas alumna Cimela Kidonakis. Read more about the trip at the World Youth Day blog at