We use our own and third party cookies to improve your user experience; by continuing to browse, we understand that you accept their use. You can get more information on our cookies policy.

Rome Reports

You are using an outdated browser

In order to deliver the greatest experience to our visitors we use cutting edge web development techniques that require a modern browser. To view this page please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer 11 or greater

A married couple who met at WYD, an event that doesn't only result in new priests


María and José Antonio met during the summer of 2011. They were accompanying the World Youth Day cross with young people on their way to the event in Madrid. María and José Antonio were there as volunteers. Now they are married and have two daughters.

Their story is one of the many that unfold at World Youth Day, where many people discern their vocation, not only to the priesthood or religious life, but to marriage as well.

Accompanying the cross, the symbol of WYD, changed them profoundly.

MARÍA DE PAZ ESTRADA
“I imagined it was something like when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. I said, 'This is similar!' People come here and we're providing a service, but it also goes the other way.”

María was there with young people from the Diocese of Córdoba, while José Antonio was there with the bishop, sharing the event on social media. There were so many people that it was hard for the two to meet. But they came up with a strategy to attend the same catechism sessions.

JOSÉ ANTONIO SALAMANCA
“Our group had a designated catechism series. We tried to arrange our schedules so we would be at the same ones. So they would say, 'Groups 1, 3 and 5 are gathering at this parish.' And sometimes we would coordinate with our groups so we could go to the catechesis together.”

Escaping together to listen to their favorite bishops, they slowly fell in love. But it wasn't until the very end of the event that Pope Benedict XVI made them think that their relationship was serious.

MARÍA DE PAZ ESTRADA
“The Pope said, 'We have lived an adventure together.' And over the years, I would think about that and say, 'Wow.' We experienced that adventure together. There, at the beginning of our relationship, we didn't know what was going to happen. We went on that adventure together, and life has given us many more. We now have two beautiful daughters.”

They want their family to be rooted in the faith. They pray together, talk about God at home, and encourage their oldest daughter to foster a devotion to the founder of her school. Sometimes they even invite their local bishop, an old family friend, to their home.

JOSÉ ANTONIO SALAMANCA
“The oldest, when she sees him, calls him 'the one with the purple hat.' She doesn't know any better. She says, 'He's our friend with the purple hat.' I tell her, 'Yes, yes, the one with the purple hat.' And sometimes she runs to greet him and grabs his pectoral cross. And I think to myself, 'How embarrassing. One day she's going to take off his hat and put it on her head.' One day, the bishop says, 'This girl has spirit. It's because of her age.'”

In their first years of marriage, María and José Antonio returned to World Youth Day, in Krakow in 2016.

Their story is a reminder that there are different vocations in the Church, and that World Youth Day does not result only in new priests, but also in many Catholic families.

RM

TR: CT