We are delighted to bring you our first World Youth Blog from Krakow along with some pilgrim vox pops. Brother Martin Bennett, is a Capuchin Franciscan, and he is part of the leadership team on the Archdiocese of Dublin WYD pilgrimage. He sent us the following from his first couple of days at WYD:
Wednesday 27 July 2016: Brother Martin Bennett
World Youth Day is best described in terms of colours than anything else. As the thunder rolled over Krakow almost 1 million pilgrims pulled on their ponchos, turning the city into a living and breathing rainbow of yellows, blues and reds.
The green of Ireland was well represented. Almost 2,000 pilgrims came from parishes, schools and youth groups from Dingle to Donegal. The opening Mass was presided over by Cardinal Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow, and gave the pilgrims a taste of the commooradary and spirit of World Youth Day. His message to the pilgrims was simple, yet powerful: God is love, He is Mercy and you are an essential part of this Divine dynamic. Love God and live mercy.
Some of the Dublin Pilgrims I spoke to described their experiences so far as ‘powerful’, ‘moving’, ‘overwhelming’ and ‘stunning’. They felt a deep connection with other pilgrims even though they may have not met before.
On Wednesday 27 July, at the first catechesis session of the week for our Irish pilgrims we heard from Bishop Robert Malone, Bishop of Buffalo, who reminded pilgrims that the Pope is calling on us to make Mercy more meaningful and more evident. We need to be signs and instruments of Mercy. ‘See how the Christians love one another?’. He concluded that ‘in order to create a culture of mercy, we need to create a culture of life: the Lord is Love and Life.
Christina Malone, a member of the Dublin Diocese WYD Organising Team, commented that ‘the Church is alive but it’s a different type of ‘aliveness’. Every generation has to respond to the Spirit in its own way. We need to be creative and courageous’.
As I write, Pope Francis has just landed at John Paul II International Airport. The air of anticipation is palpable amongst pilgrims and locals alike. This evening Irish pilgrims are gathering to celebrate evening prayer centered on the theme of ‘Now is the time of Mercy’: a chance to prepare ourselves to welcome Pope Francis tomorrow.
World Youth Day Pilgrim Vox Pop
Maria (Cabra): Atmosphere, it’s a huge event. We were stuck in rain yesterday and everyone was cheering and in great form.
David (Rathfarnham): all the people from all different countries. It didn’t hit me until I saw them altogether. People are so friendly. Even with a language barrier we can still connect: it amazes me.
Kathryn (Rathcoole): The incredible atmosphere and the energy of every single person. No matter what country. Everyone is in great spirits. Ive really been sruck by and edified by the number of young priest and nuns here; they all look so happy.
Michael (Lucan): getting to the park for the first Mass was messy with so many people but when we got there and the ceremony began, people settled and united with one another. Things became simple: the power of God!
Ruben (Ballyfermot): the amount of people. I’ve never seen crowds like it. The whole set up of the opening Mass was amazing. I’ve never had an experience like it in my life.