Wednesday to Friday of this week we had English language Catechesis daily from 9:00 am until 11:00am followed by Mass. This will be a Much shorter personal reflection on my part as I have asked the young adults to produce reflections on the various catechetical sessions which they attended and I will publish them under, ” Pilgrim’s Progress: Personal Reflections” later this weekend.
The three Cardinals who addressed the pilgrims were Cardinal Sean O’Malley from Boston, Cardinal Louis Tagle from the Philippines, and Cardinal Dolan from New York.
Each day consisted of Praise and Worship music, talks from various lay experts such as Jason Everett, Chris Stefanick and Vicki Thorne- all well respected experts in their fields working with young adults.
From teachers, to university students and those in the work- force these pilgrims bring tremendous hope for a church filled with joy. Getting to know these young people and their stories has been a blessing of this trip. It has also reinforced for me the thesis of the book that I am currently working on: “Sharing Our Stories: Sharing Our Faith” – while this book targets Grandparents and Seniors the time spent with these young people emphasizes the importance of “story” in all our lives.
Both the stories shared by our Catechists presenters and our pilgrims helped build a vision of what “Church” is for these young adults – and more importantly – what it is not!
Watching these young adults interact and genuinely care for one another over these past two weeks has been life affirming for me. I so look forward to reading and sharing with you the reflections from these young pilgrims on their experience of the Catechesis component of our time here in Kraków.
The afternoons of these three day sessions offered numerous workshop/speakers for participants to attend on topics of interest to them or for exploring Kraków. Each of the three evenings there were also major events in which to participate. Wednesday an evening of prayer, reflection and a Catholic Christian Contemporary Music Festival,was held that grew over 20,000 participants. Thursday Evening was the official welcome of the Holy Father which drew close to 500,000 participants and Friday evening a multi- dimensional presentation of The Stations of the Cross. We will also have pilgrim reflections on each of these,.
Saturday was a true test of their commitment and stamina – the Pilgrimage to the Overnight Vigil with the Holy Father…after a thirty minute bus ride followed by a three hour walk In the blazing sun we fond the pilgrims setting up camp in an open field for a Prayer Vigil with the Holy a Father which will culminate with Mass at 10:00 am tomorrow morning and officially bring yo a close World Youth a Day 2016.
Following the events tomorrow our group will spend two days touring before heading back to Canada exhausted but exhilarated.