Thursday, July 07, 2016

Author: Sr. Giovanna Mariae, S.V. & Fr. Patrick Mary Briscoe, O.P.

Dear Young People,
We have come to the last stretch of our pilgrimage to Krakow, the place where we will celebrate the 31st World Youth Day next year in the month of July. We are being guided on this long and challenging path by Jesus’ words taken from the Sermon on the Mount. We began this journey in 2014 by meditating together on the first Beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). The theme for 2015 was: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8). During the year ahead, let us allow ourselves to be inspired by the words: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,” (Mt 5:7).” Pope Francis, WYD Letter, September 2015.

Witaj! Welcome! Bienvenidos! Willkommen! Beinvenue! Benvenuti!

Welcome to the “Knights of Columbus Mercy Centre!” It is our privilege to encourage your preparations for a powerful week of grace, fellowship, and celebration for the Church universal! As a pilgrim, you will be a vital part of the events and spirit of the Mercy Centre, organized and run by the Knights of Columbus, the Sisters of Life, Holy Cross Family Ministries, Salt and Light, and many others! This site will serve WYD Krakow 2016 as the largest catechesis and youth festival site for English speaking pilgrims! Located at Krakow’s brand-new Tauron Arena (the biggest in Poland!) we will be visited by thousands of pilgrims throughout the course of WYD. While there is much to do in preparation, our deepest desire is that this event will bear great spiritual fruit. To prepare well for this we will be sharing some thoughts on different themes which will help to prepare your mind and heart for pilgrimage to WYD Krakow. And so, let us begin!

1: One who journeys in foreign lands 2: One who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee
1: a journey of a pilgrim; especially, one to a shrine or a sacred place 2: the course of life on earth

We will come from every background and walk of life, from every culture, climate and country on the globe, and yet, everyone who comes to WYD will have something in common; we will all come as pilgrims. As Catholics, pilgrimage defines our life. Our entire life is a pilgrimage. Life is a journey of joy and sorrow, cross and grace, consolation and desolation. Yet, precisely by living the struggle to hold firm the vision of faith, cling to hope, believe in love, and stay true to the special plan God has called us to, we will grow holy and (please God!) gain eternal life. In the depths of his heart, man longs for love. Heaven alone fills that longing, as St. Augustine so beautifully stated, “Lord you have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless Lord until they rest in You.” We know that the cup of bold coffee at Starbucks, the plush angora sweater at the Gap, and the six-figure income won’t in the end suffice. We are made for more, and the journey of life is the searching and reaching for that more. And so, this pilgrimage to Krakow is a little paradigm for life.

Pilgrimage is also a time of special grace. It is a special kind of journey that helps us discover God more fully. While the end of this pilgrimage will culminate with participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with millions of your brothers and sisters, it will also fuel the greater adventure of life with grace in abundance. Start praying now for those in your pilgrimage group and for those you will encounter along the way. WYD Krakow will offer many opportunities to give God permission – to give and to receive anew the life of Christ. As St. John Paul II said, “Life with Christ is an adventure.” Let’s dare to live it!

Some Spiritual Exercises…

  • Start grooming your mind for pilgrimage. Accept everything that God sends you as coming from His hands. As Mother Teresa said, “Take what He gives, and give what He takes.” Believe that whatever He permits, it is what you need most in life to help you come closer to Christ and become a fuller version of yourself.
  • As you prepare your heart for WYD Krakow, go big! The Lord tells us, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened,” (Matthew 7:7-8). What are you seeking in this time of pilgrimage and what do you hope to gain? What places in your life do you desire to be transformed by Christ? What intentions will you carry to Him throughout your pilgrimage?

Media Break…

  • - Tap into WYD Krakow 2016 at the official site! Videos and audio clips, news updates, travel tips, info about Krakow and Poland … and more! http://www.krakow2016.com/en
  • - Take a look at a clip of the Love and Life site WYD Sydney 2008!

  • and WYD Madrid 2011!

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- Check out the Holy Father’s Address about WYD Krakow 2016 and the theme he has chosen – “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!” (Mt 5:7). Words that will feed the journey!
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