Our pilgrimage to the CITY OF SAINTS – POLSKA inspired and impressed us deeply.
Dehonian Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Lay and Youth had gathered together as one bringing stories and experiences to tell and to share during the World Youth Day 2016! This encounter brought lot of conversion in our lives as pilgrims and rekindle the fire of our faith. It was indeed a one , big, happy, healthy Christ- centered family.
… Their generosity is so visible, they open their houses to let us in, their hearts and life to us.
Young people (not just the Dehonians) from all over the world of different culture and languages and with different family backgrounds were united. It is a clear manifestation that only through and with Jesus that made us one . (As what the spirituality and charism of Fr. Dehon “ Sint Unum” is about). We are one because we have one heart – the Heart of Jesus.
Every place we visited marks the memorable history of our life – to name them: the Majdanek Concentration Camp, the Sanctuary of our Lady of Płaszów, the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Kraków – Łagiewniki, the Sanctuary of St. Faustina, the Bishop’s House, the Catholic University of Lublin. In Niegowić (first parish of John Paul II). Among all those places we visited, the story behind AMAZING POLAND, the Majdanek Concentration Camp touched us the most. Polish, Jewish, young and old people, and even churches experienced lots of extraordinary tortures, deprivation of freedom and life (80,000 or more people have been killed in one day).
With those historical places we visited, and from the story of life and faith they kept, it was obvious how steadfast their love and faith to God which made them surmount in the midst of so much difficulties and tortures. As a result, numerous saints are from Poland. A BLESSED and AMAZING POLSKA!
The journey continues even after the World Youth days.
This time the encounter never ends. As Pope Francis said “the World Youth Day ends today but it continues tomorrow at home because it where God wants to meet you.” and YES! It is! with our extended home in Poland.
Bishop Vilsom Basso, scj from Maranhao, Fr. Andrzej Sudol, Fr. Piotr Chmielecki and Fr. Szymon Bendowski came and spent time with us. We met their families and friends and a warm welcome we received from them and they provided many things more than we deserve and imagine.
Bishop Vilsom serves us our Dehonian Holy Father. A father who guides and never leaves us. The new community (from Kielce, Mielec, Gorki, etc.), friends of the scj fathers are again became our family too.
Travelling…Visiting familes, communities, places… Sightseeing? Its knowing more about Poland and the people around.
Visiting Kraków the Old Town, Salt Mine in Wieliczka, Tatra Mountains in Zakopane, Antique Polish Village in Kolbuszowa, Baranow Castel Monastery at Swiety Krzyz, Holy Cross Shrine, and the Shrine of Jasna Góra (Black Madonna) in Częstochowa it is indeed an additional reward, witnessing how people pay respect to those sanctuaries and shrines, how they treasured and preserved and even the nature itself.
In Salt Mine in Wieliczka, hardwork were very obvious with those details and structures inside in 135 feet below the ground. We witnessed how amazing it was preserved and it proved how ordinary people who are working hard with firm faith, dedication and love bring out extraordinary works.
Upon our journey we did not just visit this historical – religious places but also those people who helped us a lot through monetary and spiritually. Again, this marks another history in our life.
Being together with the priests in all the events of the DYM and WYD and the continuation of our pilgrimage after WYD which some of us feel uncomfortable of being with them for almost a month, was a great opportunity to know them better .The virtue of humility is transparent to Bishop and other SCJ priests who were with us in our Poland journey. Bishop Vilsom Basso, is a man of service. He served us coffee, washing the dishes that we used after our meal, Jesus’ words are alive in the life of Bishop Basso: “He came to serve and not to be served.” Dehonians as we are, will continue our mission of reaching out and serving others especially those who needed most the love and mercy of God.
(By: Young Dehonian Pilgrims)