The Very Rev Christopher de Souza VG EV PP our Vicar General and Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation is leading pilgrims from the Diocese of Parramatta to World Youth Day 2016 (WYD).
WYD 2016 will be a pilgrimage to Krakow, Poland for a week-long festival of faith with millions of youth from around the world joining Pope Francis for an encounter with Jesus.
WYD is a part of a tradition initiated by the late Pope John Paul II (now St John Paul) for the Church to be with the youth, for the youth. Pope John Paul II described World Youth Day’s objective as: “…to make the person of Jesus the centre of the faith and life of every young person so that He may be their constant point of reference and also the inspiration of every initiative and commitment for the education of the new generations.”
2016 will be a very special WYD. Krakow is where the founder, Pope John Paul II, studied and was Archbishop.
The Diocese of Parramatta WYD Communications Team will be capturing stories during WYD 2016. You can follow the pilgrimage below.
Day One for Pilgrimage Two – Arriving in the Homeland of JPII
Blog by Steven Buhagiar
The excitement generated by WYD is on show for all to see! This was especially true as our pilgrims arrived at Warsaw airport at 12.30pm. Lining up outside the airport to board their coaches, the pilgrims spontaneously broke out into their favourite WYD song and soon drowned out the Italian cohort who had just walked past trying to set a new standard.
Arriving at the designated hotel, pilgrims were more than happy to have a chance to freshen up and get ready for the visit to the National Temple of Divine Providence. By 3.45pm the pilgrims were again on their way and were left amazed when confronted with the immense and beautiful structure that this church is.
Fr Peter Strohmayer and Fr Andrew Fornal concelebrated the mass in the basement level of this modern day pantheon and were ably supported by the talented Sr. Rosie and Alison Ryan.
The day concluded with a bus tour around what is locally known as the ‘old’ part of Warsaw with not a few pilgrims falling asleep on the way home such was the effort exerted to get there after their long journey. Early to bed would be a good idea because tomorrow sees the group travelling on to Jasna Gora to see the Black Madonna!
On the Road to Jasna Gora and the Black Madonna
The day began with a drive down the main arterial road to the south of the country with a first stop in the Dominican Church of the Assumption in Gidel. This beautiful church, a locally designated door of Mercy, was also celebrating 500 years under the care of the Dominican Order. Despite the church’s physical beauty, the real surprise came in the form of a hand sculptured 9cm tall statue of Our Lady. Pilgrims listened attentively to the stories of miracles attributed to Our Lady of Gidel’s intercession with each pilgrim leaving the church with a gift of a vial of wine in which the statue had been dipped.
Swieta Anna is a community of enclosed Dominican sisters entrusted with the care of the shrine of St Anna. Pilgrims stopped here for Mass and then spent some time listening to the history of how the sisters came to be there as well as learning of the powerful intercessory prayer of St Anna for the pilgrims, especially grandparents, who come from all over Poland to ask for her assistance.
Reaching Jasna Gora, meaning ‘Mountain of Light’, was the culmination of a day with a true Marian emphasis. St John Paul II called Jasna Gora the ‘soul’ of Poland and the pilgrims quickly understood why as they came face to face with the icon traditionally attributed to the hand of St Luke. Returning at 9pm, pilgrims joined in the beautiful night prayer of the Hermits of St Paul as they said goodnight to their Queen and Mother and entrusted their homeland to her heavenly patronage.
For day five, click here.
For day four, click here.
For day three, click here.
For day two, click here.
For day one, click here.