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.


For full text of Cardinal Dziwisz’s homily please visit:

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.