Category: WYD Blog 2016

Tuesday, August 2nd

Tuesday, August 2nd

Our last day in Zakopane was spent experiencing the outdoors the way John Paul II did with his own youth group when he was a parish priest in Kraków. Our group had the choice of taking a long hike through the woods to have mass by a lake, or to climb the mountain behind the hotel to have mass on top of the mountain. Both were picturesque locations for mass, which we all enjoyed. We spent the afternoon spending the rest of our zloty in the shops and restaurants of the downtown area of Zakopane, the pilgrims making sure to

Monday, August 1st

Monday, August 1st

The hotel in Zakopane is set right in the middle of the mountains and after an unbelievable thunderstorm during the night, we woke to a misty, rainy and cool day which was a welcome relief from the heat of the last few days in Kraków. After breakfast, prayer and singing, we spent some time in small groups reflecting on the experiences of the week, especially the vigil and mass with Pope Francis and sharing how our faith has been changed. Our time in Zakopane is for reflection and relaxation and so we headed into the town for some relaxation and

Saturday, July 30th and Sunday, July 31st

Saturday, July 30th and Sunday, July 31st

What an amazing two days it has been! Luckily we had beautiful weather for the start of the big climax of World Youth Day. We set out early on Saturday morning and walked through the Old Town one last time to Mass with Cardinal Sean at St. Mary’s Church, which is right next to the Square in the Center of Town. It was such a beautiful morning to enjoy the city’s old buildings once more. After the Mass it was time to set out on the long hike to Campus Misericordiae for the overnight vigil and Mass with the Pope. We

Friday, July 29th

Friday, July 29th

After breakfast this morning we posed for a group photo with the staff from the hotel who have been so great to us. All public transport is free for pilgrims and the tram system is great especially since we have a stop right outside our hotel,so we took the tram to the Mercy Centre for Catechesis this morning. The Centre is the huge stadium we attended on Wednesday.   Here the theme of the Catechesis was “The Cross”. After music and bands playing the first speaker was Sr. Gaudia Skass who is a Divine Mercy nun. She told us that

Thursday, July 28th

Thursday, July 28th

We started a little later today and had small group sessions where we talked about our highs and lows, and moments on the pilgrimage where we have felt God’s presence in a new or deeper way. It is good to be reflecting on these things as we go because otherwise the whole week can seem like a whirlwind of activity and emotion. Many of the pilgrims have had deeply spiritual experiences already and as we get to know each other better and build up more trust in our relationships it is easier to share these personal moments. We had Mass

Wednesday, July 27th

Wednesday, July 27th

We made it to our early breakfast and then headed straight out to the Kraków Arena which has been renamed as the “Mercy Centre” for World Youth Day. All the events here throughout the week are being hosted by The Knights of Columbus.  The whole city is full of catchesis sites which are divided by language and catchesis is provided for today and the next two days.  We took a train to get here – all public transport is free with our WYD passes.       There were speakers and events organized for the whole day today starting with

Tuesday, July 26th

Tuesday, July 26th

Today started with a welcome late breakfast time of the 9:15! After breakfast, prayers and small group meetings we set out for a day exploring the city. We walked through the Market Square which is getting busier very time we go through. From the other side of the square we headed for Wawel hill where the castle and the cathedral are situated. Along the way we saw many groups from around the world and had the chance to interact with them. This usually consists of jumping into each others’ group photos! Outside the castle is a statue of a dragon

Monday, July 25th

Monday, July 25th

Today started with breakfast followed by a 2 hour ride on the bus to visit Auschwitz. We had prepared our young people as well as we could for their visit and they have learned about the Holocaust at school, but nothing can prepare them for how they will feel when they are actually walking around Auschwitz. There is a special route around the camp which is available for all the World Youth Day pilgrims who will visit this week and we walked around quietly and respectfully. We were given a leaflet especially prepared for WYD pilgrims and I think the

Sunday, July 24th

Sunday, July 24th

We woke up to another beautiful day in Warsaw. The temperature is around 80 degrees with a breeze which is perfect for traveling. After breakfast in the hotel we packed up our luggage, checked out and boarded our buses for Czestochowa. We headed to one of the most important religious sites in Poland. The Jasna Gora monastery in Czestochowa is the home of the early C14th icon of Our Lady which is know as the Black Madonna. This is one of the most famous images of Mary in the world and the icon continues to draw thousands of pilgrims each