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/

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

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.