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Coming to the World Youth Day, I had no many expectations on what will happen. What I only know is that it will be a long walk of pilgrimage and there are lots of chances of meeting Jesus through the different pilgrims from other countries. We were also disclaimed of the idea that there may be distractions and discomforts, but it was until I myself experience the Days in the Diocese and World Youth Day that it sinks in how much of long walks, communications, distractions and discomforts there will be.

I’ve always loved walking. I find it as my time to reflect. But in the DID and WYD, I got to walk long kilometers with lots of people, having different pacing and opinion of navigation. In meeting people, I’d rather choose to be silent, but there were many times that it demands so much communication even if I’m tired of the whole day and my social battery is getting really empty. I am used to camping and strategize with the only resources I have but living the whole 2 weeks sleeping on the floor with the thin sleeping bag, taking shower in common shower room, doing laundry every day, it was a whole different experience of discomfort.

With all these, I realized I needed to walk and adjust with the pacing of my group because journeying with others allows me to encounter Jesus and improve myself as well. Conversing with people allows me to be inspired of their stories of faith. Discomforts may be my constant distractions, but it developed my character and challenged me to seek God even in the simplest style of living. Needs before wants, essentials before accidentals.

The Days in the Diocese and World Youth Day was a reminder for me to never miss out the opportunity to encounter God in all the situations I had been through and people I was with. I may have felt that there were sufferings and sacrifices in the journey, but it was the way for me to be holy. It is in doing something we are not used to and offering our sacrifices to God that we make our lives holy.

God was a very personal God. I have always been asking the Lord where is He in all the situations, discomforts and even in the good times. I was constantly searching for God in my whole WYD experience, realizing that it was Him who sought me first. He knows me well. He sees all my aches and desires. He meets me where I am.

It was a beautiful question to always ask “Lord, what do you want me to do?” and truly having the courage to do whatever He wants and wherever the Spirit leads us. It was being conscious and sensitive both of the joy of discovery and responsibility.

My heart will always be grateful for this journey of pilgrimage. The Lord brought me back to my sense of awe and wander. After all, Vale La Pena, it was all worth it.


Ate Riva Dimailig is a Full-time Worker. She is assigned the Mindanao Zone Coordinator and the full-time assigned in MFC HIGH. She was once an engineer before she said yes to the higher calling of the Lord to her.

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