Today it began – the World Youth Day week. So many days together, and finally our pilgrimage got us here – with more than 200,000 other young people in Krakow for the beginning of the week of events.
Our spirits were high, the threat of rains were forgotten, and we set out for the day. In the morning – the Australian Gathering of 3,000 or so Aussie pilgrims. A great time together to celebrate the community of the Church in Australia. Katelyn and Bon Gerard from our group were both involved which was special for us. Check out Bon Gerard’s reading in Tiwi here…
And then… to the first official event of the week – the Opening Mass. Celebrated by Krakow Metropolitan Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, it was held at Blonia Park, a glorious 20 minute walk from our accommodation! (so blessed) Blonia Park will be the main location for the 3 big events throughout this week.
A group of us got there earlier and set up a good spot in our section. As we set up a group of dark clouds got closer and closer, and soon we were in the rain.
The group were amazing – laying out tarps, looking out for each other and weathering the storm with enthusiasm and joy. There was even dancing in the rain, complete with bright coloured ponchos and umbrellas! Not once did anyone ever suggest heading home and you couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces. 🙂
The weather eased off in time for Mass, and the whole group was able to enjoy the experience with the universal Church. At communion time, the clouds parted and the sun streamed through. As I closed my eyes in prayer after receiving Jesus, I could feel the sun on my eye lids. It was a reminder for me of the warmth in life of knowing Jesus. The power and love of Jesus can cut through anything – the darkest clouds, the toughest storms. Jesus is there behind it all. That sun coming through for me, felt like Jesus saying ‘Yes I’m here, this is all part of the experience. Do not forget I am with you. There is reason for all of this. Do not loose faith in me. I am right here, loving you in everything.’
For me, there was a lot of love in this place. There was a lot of mud and wet clothing but there was much more love! Together we are so much stronger, we build each other up. It reminded me today of the importance of celebrating – our faith, Jesus, our community in faith. Together we are stronger, brighter and more visible in the world. And when Jesus is more visible in the world, we are all better for it.
I’m looking forward to continuing to see our group shine through this week. And I’m going to make an effort to shine that bit more myself! The love of God can never be too present to those around us – we need to do all we can to bring his love, his joy and his saving mercy into the world. The time to start that is right now. Let’s go.
…I’m heading off now to dry out my poncho, ready for the next wash out 🙂 there are more rainy days forecast