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Visit at Skałka and Way of the Cross

On July 29, 2016, the SCJ pilgrims as usual started the day with morning prayers and the Eucharist, which was followed by visit of the Shrine at Skałka, sharing of experiences, youth festival and Way of the Cross with the Holy Father in the afternoon.

Skałka, which means “a small rock” in Polish, is a small outcrop in Kraków where the Bishop of Kraków Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanów was slain by order of Polish king Bolesław II the Bold in 1079. This action resulted in the king’s exile and the eventual canonization of the slain bishop.

Originally, a Romanesque church was built there. King Casimir III raised a new Gothic church in its place and since 1472 this shrine has been in the possession of a monastic community of Pauline Fathers. In 1733-1751 the church received a baroque decor. It is one of the most famous Polish sanctuaries.

The crypt underneath the church serves as a “National Pantheon”, a burial place for some of the most distinguished Poles, particularly those who lived in Kraków.

Address to the young people of World Youth Day, after praying a presentation of the Way of the Cross linked to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing,
I was sick and you took care of me,
I was in prison and you visited me (Mt 25:35-36).

These words of Jesus answer the question that arises so often in our minds and hearts: “Where is God?” Where is God, if evil is present in our world, if there are men and women who are hungry and thirsty, homeless, exiles and refugees? Where is God, when innocent persons die as a result of violence, terrorism and war? Where is God, when cruel diseases break the bonds of life and affection? Or when children are exploited and demeaned, and they too suffer from grave illness? Where is God, amid the anguish of those who doubt and are troubled in spirit? These are questions that humanly speaking have no answer. We can only look to Jesus and ask him. And Jesus’ answer is this: “God is in them”. Jesus is in them; he suffers in them and deeply identifies with each of them. He is so closely united to them as to form with them, as it were, “one body”.

Jesus himself chose to identify with these our brothers and sisters enduring pain and anguish by agreeing to tread the “way of sorrows” that led to Calvary. By dying on the cross, he surrendered himself into to the hands of the Father, taking upon himself and in himself, with self- sacrificing love, the physical, moral and spiritual wounds of all humanity. By embracing the wood of the cross, Jesus embraced the nakedness, the hunger and thirst, the loneliness, pain and death of men and women of all times. Tonight Jesus, and we with him, embrace with particular love our brothers and sisters from Syria who have fled from the war. We greet them and we welcome them with fraternal affection and friendship.

By following Jesus along the Way of the Cross, we have once again realized the importance of imitating him through the fourteen works of mercy. These help us to be open to God’s mercy, to implore the grace to appreciate that without mercy we can do nothing; without mercy, neither I nor you nor any of us can do a thing. Let us first consider the seven corporal works of mercy: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and those in prison, and burying the dead. Freely we have received, so freely let us give. We are called to serve the crucified Jesus in all those who are marginalized, to touch his sacred flesh in those who are disadvantaged, in those who hunger and thirst, in the naked and imprisoned, the sick and unemployed, in those who are persecuted, refugees and migrants. There we find our God; there we touch the Lord. Jesus himself told us this when he explained the criterion on which we will be judged: whenever we do these things to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do them to him (cf. Mt 25:31-46).

After the corporal works of mercy come the spiritual works: counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing sinners, consoling the afflicted, pardoning offences, bearing wrongs patiently, praying for the living and the dead. In welcoming the outcast who suffer physically and welcoming sinners who suffer spiritually, our credibility as Christians is at stake.

Humanity today needs men and women, and especially young people like yourselves, who do not wish to live their lives “halfway”, young people ready to spend their lives freely in service to those of their brothers and sisters who are poorest and most vulnerable, in imitation of Christ who gave himself completely for our salvation. In the face of evil, suffering and sin, the only response possible for a disciple of Jesus is the gift of self, even of one’s own life, in imitation of Christ; it is the attitude of service. Unless those who call themselves Christians live to serve, their lives serve no good purpose. By their lives, they deny Jesus Christ.

This evening, dear friends, the Lord once more asks you to be in the forefront of serving others. He wants to make of you a concrete response to the needs and sufferings of humanity. He wants you to be signs of his merciful love for our time! To enable you to carry out this mission, he shows you the way of personal commitment and self-sacrifice. It is the Way of the Cross. The Way of the Cross is the way of fidelity in following Jesus to the end, in the often dramatic situations of everyday life. It is a way that fears no lack of success, ostracism or solitude, because it fills ours hearts with the fullness of Jesus. The Way of the Cross is the way of God’s own life, his “style”, which Jesus brings even to the pathways of a society at times divided, unjust and corrupt.

The Way of the Cross alone defeats sin, evil and death, for it leads to the radiant light of Christ’s resurrection and opens the horizons of a new and fuller life. It is the way of hope, the way of the future. Those who take up this way with generosity and faith give hope and a future to humanity.

Dear young people, on that Good Friday many disciples went back crestfallen to their homes. Others chose to go out to the country to forget the cross. I ask you: How do you want to go back this evening to your own homes, to the places where you are staying? How do you want to go back this evening to be alone with your thoughts? Each of you has to answer the challenge that this question sets before you.

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Visiting the Centre of St. Pope John Paul II and Divine Mercy Shrine, Meeting with Pope Francis in Błonia

On July 28, 2016, the Philippine delegation visited the “Have No Fear!” Centre of John Paul II and Divine Mercy Shrine in Łagiewniki, Kraków.

The long time private secretary of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, put forward a proposal to build a center to commemorate the Holy Father. The idea was to create a place of prayer, education and voluntary service, a place for meetings and exchanging views.

As its motto, the Centre has the words of Pope John Paul II, spoken during the inauguration of his pontificate: “Have no fear! Open wide the door for Jesus Christ.”

The construction started in 2008 and has included: Saint John Paull II Sanctuary, John Paul II Institute, a volunteer center, a hotel and a pilgrim’s guest house, a retreat center, an amphitheater, outdoor Stations of the Cross, a rehabilitation center, a meditation and recreation park and other facilities.

The Sanctuary is a truly unique place. It is located on two levels. The upper part is formed by the main church, while the lower part houses by the Relic Church, surrounded by numerous thematic chapels. Among the relics and mementos of Saint John Paul II there are e.g.: an ampule with the Pope’s blood placed in a marble altar, a papal pastoral cross, papal chasuble and the cross in front of which Saint John Paul II prayed during his last Way of the Cross in the Roman Colosseum.

Among the many symbols, it is worth paying attention to the Sacredotal Chapel, modelled on Saint Leonard’s Crypt at the Wawel Royal Castle. There, one can find the slab from the first tomb of Saint John Paul II in the Vatican Grottoes.

It is worth noting that the Centre is located in Krakow (Cracow), between Łagiewniki and Borek Fałęcki, in the place of the old Solvay plants, in which Karol Wojtyła used to work during World War II as a factory worker.

The Sanctuary of Divine Mercy is situated in buildings of monastery of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, which was founded in 1891 as A. Lubomirski’s Foundation for girls and women in need of moral renewal.
In period between world wars in this Monastery lived and died Saint M. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), through Saint Faustina Lord Christ gave the message of the Divine Mercy to the Church and to the whole world. It sheds light on the mystery of the Divine Mercy, calls to put trust in God and have merciful attitude towards neighbors and also to proclaim and pray for Divine Mercy for whole world through practicing new forms of worship of the Divine Mercy (the Divine Mercy Image, the Divine Mercy Sunday, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Hour of Mercy).
In 1943 Father J. Andrasz SI the Cracow confessor of Faustina blessed the first Divine Mercy Image painted by A. Hyła, offered as ex-voto, thanksgiving to God for saving his family during war, and initiated solemn masses honoring the Divine Mercy.
The image quickly became well-know for many graces, the number of pilgrims has grown each year, considering also the pilgrims visiting the Sister Faustina’s tomb.
Very dynamic expansion of worship of the Divine Mercy was launched by the beatification of Sister’s Faustina (18th of April 1993) and her canonisation (30th of April 2000), and also thanks to pilgrimages of John Paul II to Łagiewniki (1997 and 2002). It caused the extension of the Sanctuary i.a. building a new church – basilica, that was consecrated on 17th of August 2002 by Pope John Paul II in 2002. In this place Pope solemnly entrusted the world to the Divine Mercy.

In the afternoon, the Dehonian group from the Philippines, together with other pilgrims, joined the first official encounter with the Holy Father, at a ceremony in Błonia, Kraków.

Below is the English translation of Pope Francis’ prepared address, given in Italian, following a welcome from the archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz:

Dear Young Friends, good evening!

At last we are together! Thank you for your warm welcome! I thank Cardinal Dziwisz, the bishops, priests, men and women religious, the seminarians and those who have accompanied you. I am also grateful to all those who made it possible for us to be here today, who “went the extra mile” so that we could celebrate our faith.

In this, the land of his birth, I especially want to thank Saint John Paul II, who first came up with the idea of these meetings and gave them such momentum. From his place in heaven, he is with us and he sees all of you: so many young people from such a variety of nations, cultures and languages but with one aim, that of rejoicing that Jesus is living in our midst. To say that Jesus is alive means to rekindle our enthusiasm in following him, to renew our passionate desire to be his disciples. What better opportunity to renew our friendship with Jesus than by building friendships among yourselves! What better way to build our friendship with Jesus than by sharing him with others! What better way to experience the contagious joy of the Gospel than by striving to bring the Good News to all kinds of painful and difficult situations!

Jesus called us to this Thirty-first World Youth Day. Jesus tells us: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy (Mt 5:7). Blessed indeed are they who can forgive, who show heartfelt compassion, who are capable of offering the very best of themselves to others.

Dear young people, in these days Poland is in a festive mood; in these days Poland wants to be the ever-youthful face of mercy. From this land, with you and all those young people who cannot be present today yet join us through the various communications media, we are going to make this World Youth Day an authentic Jubilee celebration.

In my years as a bishop, I have learned one thing. Nothing is more beautiful than seeing the enthusiasm, dedication, zeal and energy with which so many young people live their lives. When Jesus touches a young person’s heart, he or she becomes capable of truly great things. It is exciting to listen to you share your dreams, your questions and your impatience with those who say that things cannot change. For me, it is a gift of God to see so many of you, with all your questions, trying to make a difference. It is beautiful and heartwarming to see all that restlessness! Today the Church looks to you and wants to learn from you, to be reassured that the Father’s Mercy has an ever-youthful face, and constantly invites us to be part of his Kingdom.

Knowing your enthusiasm for mission, I repeat: mercy always has a youthful face! Because a merciful heart is motivated to move beyond its comfort zone. A merciful heart can go out and meet others; it is ready to embrace everyone. A merciful heart is able to be a place of refuge for those who are without a home or have lost their home; it is able to build a home and a family for those forced to emigrate; it knows the meaning of tenderness and compassion. A merciful heart can share its bread with the hungry and welcome refugees and migrants. To say the word “mercy” along with you is to speak of opportunity, future, commitment, trust, openness, hospitality, compassion and dreams.

Let me tell you another thing I have learned over these years. It pains me to meet young people who seem to have opted for “early retirement”. I worry when I see young people who have “thrown in the towel” before the game has even begun, who are defeated even before they begin to play, who walk around glumly as if life has no meaning. Deep down, young people like this are bored… and boring! But it is also hard, and troubling, to see young people who waste their lives looking for thrills or a feeling of being alive by taking dark paths and in the end having to pay for it… and pay dearly. It is disturbing to see young people squandering some of the best years of their lives, wasting their energies running after peddlers of fond illusions (where I come from, we call them “vendors of smoke”), who rob you of what is best in you.

We are gathered here to help one another other, because we do not want to be robbed of the best of ourselves. We don’t to be robbed of our energy, our joy, our dreams by fond illusions.

So I ask you: Are you looking for empty thrills in life, or do you want to feel a power that can give you a lasting sense of life and fulfilment? Empty thrills or the power of grace? To find fulfilment, to gain new strength, there is a way. It is not a thing or an object, but a person, and he is alive. His name is Jesus Christ.

Jesus can give you true passion for life. Jesus can inspire us not to settle for less, but to give the very best of ourselves. Jesus challenges us, spurs us on and helps us keep trying whenever we are tempted to give up. Jesus pushes us to keep our sights high and to dream of great things.

In the Gospel, we heard how Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem, stopped at a home – the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus – and was welcomed. He stopped, went in and spent time with them. The two women welcomed him because they knew he was open and attentive. Our many jobs and responsibilities can make us a bit like Martha: busy, scattered, constantly running from place to place… but we can also be like Mary: whenever we see a beautiful landscape, or look at a video from a friend on our cellphone, we can stop and think, stop and listen… In these days, Jesus wants to stop and enter our home. He will look at us hurrying about with all our concerns, as he did with Martha… and he will wait for us to listen to him, like Mary, to make space for him amid the bustle. May these be days given over to Jesus and to listening to one another. May they help us welcome Jesus in all those with whom we share our homes, our neighborhoods, our groups and our schools.

Whoever welcomes Jesus, learns to love as Jesus does. So he asks us if we want a full life: Do you want a complete life? Start by letting yourself be open and attentive! Because happiness is sown and blossoms in mercy. That is his answer, his offer, his challenge, his adventure: mercy. Mercy always has a youthful face. Like that of Mary of Bethany, who sat as a disciple at the feet of Jesus and joyfully listened to his words, since she knew that there she would find peace. Like that of Mary of Nazareth, whose daring “Yes” launched her on the adventure of mercy. All generations would call her blessed; to all of us she is the “Mother of Mercy”.

All together, then, we ask the Lord: “Launch us on the adventure of mercy! Launch us on the adventure of building bridges and tearing down walls, barriers and barbed wire. Launch us on the adventure of helping the poor, those who feel lonely and abandoned, or no longer find meaning in their lives. Send us, like Mary of Bethany, to listen attentively to those we do not understand, those of other cultures and peoples, even those we are afraid of because we consider them a threat. Make us attentive to our elders, as Mary of Nazareth was to Elizabeth, in order to learn from their wisdom.

Here we are, Lord! Send us to share your merciful love. We want to welcome you in our midst during this World Youth Day. We want to affirm that our lives are fulfilled when they are shaped by mercy, for that is the better part, and it will never be taken from us.

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Kraków… Waiting for the Pope

On his first night in Krakow Pope Francis was already stirring things up with participants in WYD by hosting an off-the-cuff Q and A and telling them to ‘make chaos’ by spreading the joy of their faith.

“You must do your duty and make chaos all night. Show your Christian joy, the joy the Lord gave you to be in the community who follows Jesus,” the Pope told those participating in World Youth Day after arriving to Krakow July 27.

He spoke from the balcony of the Bishop’s Palace, telling the thousands of youth gathered below not to be afraid, but to have faith and spread the joy that comes from following Christ.

Pope Francis is currently in Krakow for this July 27-31 trip to Poland for WYD. Every night when he comes back to the city after the day’s activities, Francis is set to appear on the palace balcony to address youth gathered below.

The tradition was initiated by St. John Paul II, who spoke to youth from the balcony every time he visited his homeland as Pope. It was continued by Benedict XVI when he visited Poland in 2006, and is now being carried on by Francis.

In his brief speech, the Pope first recalled the story of a young man who had studied graphic design for just over two years, but decided to leave his studies in order to volunteer for WYD.

He immediately put his talents to use, designing all of the banners that currently decorate the streets of Krakow in honor of WYD, the Pope said, noting that “images of the patron saints” found on practically every street – St. John Paul II and St. Maria Faustina Kowalska – were done by this young man.

In the process of his work for WYD, the youth rediscovered his faith, but was diagnosed with cancer in November, Pope Francis recalled. He noted how the doctors had amputated the young man’s leg in an effort to save his life, but it didn’t work, and the cancer continued to spread.

This young man “wanted to live through the Pope’s visit” and had even reserved a place on the Krakow tram that the Pope will take later in the week with sick and disabled youth as his special passengers. However, the young man didn’t make it, and died July 2.

“He did a lot of good for everyone,” Francis said, leading the youth below in a moment of silent prayer for the young man who died.

“We must get used to the good things and the bad things. Life is like this, dear young people,” he said, while stressing that “there is something we cannot doubt: the faith of this young man, of our friend, who worked so much for this WYD.”

After leading the youth in a round of applause for the example of the young man, he urged them to give thanks to the Lord “because he gives us examples of courage, of courageous youth who help us to go forward in life.”

“Don’t be afraid, God is great, God is good, and all of us have something good,” he said, and bid the youth farewell before telling them to “make chaos” all night in a show of their Christian joy.

Before going to the balcony, Pope Francis connected virtually with Italian youth participating in WYD as part of the July 26-29 youth festival, during which the youth show their culture through performances, singing, and dancing.

During the conversation, Pope Francis took questions from three Italian youth who gave their testimonies and asked a question afterwards.

He spoke to the first young person of the importance of knowing how to keep going in both good and bad moments, explaining that joy helps saves us from being “neurotic.”

The Pope then heard the testimony of Andrea, a 15-year-old from the Diocese of Bergamo who was teased growing up. As a result she attempted suicide at the age of 13. However, when she was recovering in the hospital she realized that there was nothing wrong with her, but rather with those who teased her, and that she was stronger than she thought.

While she has moved beyond that period in her life, Andrea said she still feels the pain and finds it hard to let go, and asked the Pope how she can learn to completely forgive the people who teased her.

In his response, the Pope said that cruelty is a common problem among children, and even adults. “Children are cruel many times, and they have that capacity to hurt you where it will do the most damage,” he said, noting that cruelty is the “base of all wars.”

This cruelty “kills even the good name of another,” he said, and warned against the “terrorism of gossip.”

“Gossip is terrorism,” Francis said, explaining that when a person gossips, “it destroys the dignity, the fame of a person.” To gossip, he added, is like “throwing a bomb” that explodes and destroys everything around it.

Pope Francis said this temptation is something that must be overcome with peace and forgiveness, but noted that to forgive “isn’t easy, because one can say ‘I forgive, but I don’t forget.’”

“You always carry with you the hurt of this cruelty,” he said, explaining that to completely forgive someone for harm done “is a grace that we have to ask the Lord for. By ourselves we can’t, but we have to ask the lord to give us the grace to forgive, to forgive our enemies.”

The final question Francis received was from a group of youth and a priest who had been in Munich Feb. 22 when an 18-year-old German teenager of Iranian descent killed nine people and injured nearly 30 others after opening fire at the city’s Olympia shopping mall.

After they were forced to cut their trip short and head home, the group still managed to make it to WYD, and asked the Pope how youth can spread peace in a world filled with hate.

In reply, Pope Francis spoke of the difference between peace and hate, explaining that peace always builds bridges, whereas hatred only builds walls.

“We all have a decision to make in life: do I build bridges, or do I build walls?” he said, noting that bridges unite, whereas walls divide.

“In our daily lives the ability to build a bridge when you extend your hand to a friend, you make a bridge. But when you hit, hurt another, you build a wall. Hate always grows with walls,” he said, noting that many times when we reach out our hand to build a bridge, we’re left hanging.

He said there are certain “humiliations” like this that we’ll have to experience in order to truly walk the path of unity, but stressed that we must “always build bridges.”

As the youth gathered to speak to him took up one another’s hands in a concrete show of unity, Francis closed by emphasizing that “we must build bridges, not allow ourselves to fall on the ground. No. Always seek the way to build bridges.”

Source: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/in-first-balcony-talk-pope-tells-youth-to-make-chaos-43526/

Feast of St. James and Blessing of the Community House

On July 25, 2016, new SCJ Community in Talisay, Hilongos in the Diocese of Maasin celebrated the Feast of St. James, the Patron Saint of the main chapel where the community at the moment is residing. The concelebrated Mass was presided by Fr. Conrado “Dodong” Saavedra, who also delivered the homily presenting St. James, the Apostle as a model of faith and commitment.

The Eucharist was followed by the Blessing of the Community House done by the Regional Superior Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ. The celebration was well organized and attended by members of the “St. Pope John Paul II, Mission Territory.” The SCJs were represented by Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ and Fr. Patrick Gutib, SCJ, who came all the way from Cagayan de Oro City.

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Opening of the World Youth Day 2016

 

More than 200,000 young people from around the world gathered in Blonia Park, Krakow on Tuesday, June 26,  for the official Opening Mass of World Youth Day celebrated by Krakow Metropolitan Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. The congregation included cardinals and bishops from all over the world. There was a 300-strong choir and orchestra.

Just two hours before the Mass there had been a dramatic thunderstorm and heavy rain – but the skies cleared in time for the Mass.

Cardinal Dziwisz welcomed everyone in six languages. Underlining that the WYD participants had traveled from many different places and spoke many different languages, the cardinal said that “from today we will speak to one another in the language of the Gospel … the language of brotherhood, solidarity and peace”.

The liturgy was celebrated in Latin while the Gospel was read in Polish and Old Church Slavonic.

The Fire of Mercy, brought to the site from the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Lagiewniki, will burn at all the central celebrations of WYD. At the end of the event Pope Francis will hand it over to representatives of five continents.

There was spontaneous applause at the end of the Mass. A number of musicians and singers performed after the Mass – among them a folk group from Zakopane.

Cardinal Dziwisz’s welcome to World Youth Day pilgrims had a stirring reminder: it is up to them to ensure that the Gospel of Jesus Christ reaches the world.

“Carry the flame of your faith and ignite with it other flames, so that human hearts will beat to the rhythm of the Heart of Christ, which is ‘a flaming fire of love’,” Cardinal Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow, said in his homily for the July 26 opening Mass of World Youth Day at the city’s Blonia Park.

“May the flame of love engulf our world and rid it of egoism, violence and injustice, so that a civilization of good, reconciliation, love and peace will be strengthened on our earth.”

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, including Pope Francis, are expected in Krakow for the global gathering of Catholic youth. St. John Paul II was archbishop of the city before becoming Pope in 1978. The cardinal served as a close aide to the Pope.

Cardinal Dziwisz reflected on what brought all the World Youth Day pilgrims together.

“We are all here because Christ has gathered us. He is the light of the world,” he said.

“Only He – Jesus Christ – is able to satisfy the deepest desires of the human heart,” he added. “It is He who has led us here. He is present among us. He is accompanying us like He accompanied His disciples headed for Emmaus. Let us entrust Him in these days our matters, fears and hopes.”

The cardinal urged the faithful to listen – and respond – to Christ’s questions about love, as he asked St. Peter after the Resurrection.

Cardinal Dziwisz said that “meeting with Jesus, we simultaneously realize that we all make up a great community – the Church – which surpasses the boundaries established by people and which divide people.”

“We are all God’s children, redeemed by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ,” the cardinal continued. “Experiencing the universal Church is a great experience associated with World Youth Day. The image of the Church depends on us – on our faith and sanctity. It is up to us to ensure that the Gospel reaches those who have not yet heard about Christ or have not learnt enough about Him.”

Cardinal Dziwisz challenged the pilgrims to share with each other “what is most valuable.”

“Let us share our faith, our experiences, our hopes. My dear young friends, may these days be an opportunity to form your hearts and minds,” he said.

He encouraged them to listen to bishops’ catecheses and to Pope Francis, and to participate in the liturgy wholeheartedly.

“Experience the merciful love of the Lord in the sacrament of reconciliation. Discover also the churches of Krakow, the wealth of the culture of this city, as well as the hospitality of its inhabitants and of those of neighboring towns, where we will find rest after a day’s rigors,” he urged.

“Krakow is alive with the mystery of Divine Mercy,” he said, referring to the visions and devotion of St. Faustina Kowalska, which were popularized by St. John Paul II.

The cardinal also reflected on the diverse backgrounds of pilgrims, who come from “every nation under heaven.”

“We come from such parts of the world where people live in peace, where families are communities of love and life and where young people can pursue their dreams,” he said. “But among us are also young people from countries whose people are suffering due to wars and other kinds of conflicts, where children are starving to death and where Christians are brutally persecuted. Among us are young pilgrims from parts of the world that are ruled by violence and blind terrorism, and where authorities usurp power over man and nations, following insane ideologies.”

“We bring to this meeting with Jesus during these days our personal experiences of living the Gospel in our difficult world,” Cardinal Dziwisz said. “We can face the challenges of the modern world, in which man chooses between faith and disbelief, good and evil, love and its rejection.”

He encouraged them to be messengers of good news, like St. John Paul II. They should return to their communities carrying “the spark of mercy” and remind everyone of the Beatitude, “blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

“Carry the good news about Jesus Christ to the world,” his homily concluded.

Source: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/let-the-fire-of-faith-enkindle-the-world-cardinal-tells-wyd-pilgrims-53722/

For full text of Cardinal Dziwisz’s homily please visit: http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=30591

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Meeting of the Dehonian Youth

All of the pilgrims from different SCJ parishes around the world are already in Poland. Prior to the main celebration of the World Youth Day in Krakow they met together in Pliszczyn.

One of the first groups of young people, that arrived in Pliszczyn, were the Canadians from Toronto. They were followed by the young people from Brazil, Indonesia, Spain, Germany, Philippines, Slovakia and from the SCJ parish in Houston in the United States.

In Pliszczyn there were: warm welcome of the delegates, presentations, prayer and the Eucharist, fun, shared meals and tours. Most of the young people from Spain, Italy, Albania and Portugal, were accommodated by foster families from the Good Shepherd Parish in Lublin.

In Lublin, they have learned about the history of the city and visited the former concentration camp at Majdanek.
Most of them visited the open-air Village Museum and the Catholic University of Lublin, where once a lecturer was Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. They listened to the story of Professor Fr. Andrzej Szostak about the history of the university and its relationship with the Pope from Krakow. They also met at the roadside shrines located in the area of Pliszczyn with the local population and together they participated in the Holy Mass.

On Saturday, July 23, 2016, the young people took part in the central event of World Youth Day of the Diocese of Lublin at the Arena Stadium under the slogan: “Kraków begins in Lublin.” They arrived at the stadium through the city streets in a grand and colorful parade. On the site they saw the presentation about Abraham and the staging of the history of Lublin, which seven hundred year foundation falls next year. The main point of this Prayer and Art event was the solemn Eucharist presided by the Ordinary of the Diocese of Lublin, Archbishop Stanislaw Budzik.

On Sunday, the youth from Pliszczyn and Lublin went to Stadniki, where the Sacred Heart Seminary is located and where they were joined by other delegations, namely from Moldova, Finland and France.

On July 25, 2016, the young people met with the General Superior of the Congregation of the Priests of the sacred Heart of Jesus, Very Rev. Fr. Heiner Wilmer, SCJ.

The Philippine group is being accompanied by Fr. Andrzej Sudoł, SCJ, a former missionary in the Philippines and in charge of the Dehonian Youth, who designed the program of their visit and took care about all details including transportation, accommodation and sightseeing trips.

 

From Poland with Love – World Youth Day 2016

WYD_KRAKOW_2016_logo-255x276World Youth Day is a youth-oriented International event that takes place every two to three years. The event itself is a celebration of Catholic Faith among the world’s youth, but the invitation is extended to youth of all the world regardless of religious convictions. World Youth Day was initiated by St. Pope John Paul II in 1985 with the first encounter being held in Rome in 1986.

Each international World Youth Day attracts thousands of young people from around the world to gather in a festival of unity and color. World Youth Day is not just a day, but a week of festival, celebrating the faith of young people. World Youth Day presents an opportunity for young people of different cultures and backgrounds to come together and share in the faith and culture of others. It has become tradition that the groups of young people carry various colors, flags and symbols to distinguish who they are and where they come from. This is also done through songs, chants and music. Throughout the course of the event, young people trade these symbols, flags and colors to keep as souvenirs of their time at World Youth Day and as memories of the people they met.

History of World Youth Day

Although World Youth Day has become a week of celebration, the pinnacle of the festival is the open air mass held by the Pope on the last day. This is officially ‘The World Youth Day’. All the other activities are a build up to this event. The smiles and joy, singing and dancing, culture upon culture and nation upon nation, proudly holding flags high, greeting one another, trading tokens, humbly realizing how small we are in a world of people, and strengthened to witness so many who share our faith with all its difficulties and challenges, is all part of the build up to this massive International Mass, celebrating youth with their enthusiasm and joy.

There have been a total of 12 International World Youth Days since 1986.  The most recent World Youth Day was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2013.

  • Buenos Aires (1987)
  • Santiago de Compostela (1989)
  • Częstochowa (1991)
  • Denver (1993)
  • Manila (1995)
  • Paris (1997)
  • Rome (2000)
  • Toronto (2002)
  • Cologne (2005)
  • Sydney (2008)
  • Madrid (2011)
  • Rio de Janeiro (2013)

Dehonian Youth Encounter

Since the WYD in Cologne in 2005, the Dehonian Youth from around the world meets together to share the richness of the spirituality of Venerable Fr. Leo Dehon and simply to celebrate. As this year, the World Youth Day is held in Krakow, Poland, the representatives from different countries are gathered around the centers of SCJ presence in different parts of the country. The youth connected with the SCJ Philippine Region is composed of 17 young people plus 3 priests and 1 SCJ seminarian. After arrival in Warsaw on July 20, 2016 and visiting some interesting places there, the group moved to Pliszczyn, Diocese of Lublin, where the SCJs have their parish and Postulancy house. After some common activities and visiting countryside they will move to Stadniki and then to Krakow to participate in the Vigil and the Mass with Pope Francis on July 30-31, 2016. The participants from the Philippines will also have an opportunity to visit some important places before their departure for the Philippines on August 9, 2016.

New Parish Priest in Kumalarang

On July 23, 2016, the Bishop of Diocese of Ipil, Most. Rev. Julius S. Tonel, DD, has installed Fr. John Karl Cabaluna, SCJ, as new Parish Priest in San Isidro Labrador Parish in Kumalarang. Fr. John Karl, also known as “Fr. Nonong”, comes from the former SCJ parish in Margosatubig in the Province of Zamboanga del Sur. He is the first SCJ Filipino priest and was ordained on February 24, 2004. Among his different assignments were: assistant parish priest in Dumalinao, formator in Cagayan de Oro, in-charge of the Chaplaincy in Dansolihon, formator in Manila and most recently parish priest in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City.

Kumalarang Parish is one of the three parishes offered to the SCJs upon their arrival in the Philippines in 1989. The other two parishes: Margosatubig and Dimataling were turned back to the Diocese of Pagadian in 2003.

Fr. John Karl is the eighth SCJ and second SCJ Filipino parish priest in Kumalarang.

The ceremony of installation was attended by the parishioners from different zones of the parish, SCJ confreres, members of his family and friends.

New Superior in Cagayan de Oro I

On July 14, 2016, Fr. Patrick L. Gutib, SCJ, the Master of Postulants, was installed as a new superior of the Cagayan de Oro Formation Community. He replaced Fr. Donald S. Longno, SCJ, who was sent to study in Manila. As of now the Cagayan de Oro Community is composed of 5 priests, 12 postulants and 24 aspirants.

The ceremony of installation took place during the Holy Eucharist presided by the Regional Superior Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ.