Parishes and dioceses at work

The local Christian communities are preparing to receive the youths and the Pope

“A great feast of faith, joy and enthusiasm awaits us, along with the possibility of experiencing the variety and richness of the Church and a unique chance to share the beautiful treasures of Polish faith. On the other hand, we wish to be drawn by the force of young people renewing within us the thriving relationship with Jesus and the love for our brothers”. Monsignor Damian Muskus, responsible for the 2016 WYD in Krakow sent a special message to all Polish parishes. Msgr. Piotr Greger, auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Bielsko Biala, moderator of the diocesan centre of the WYD, said: “World Youth Days ensure that attention is focused on the young Church in particular”. His diocese, along with many other Polish dioceses, will be hosting thousands of young people from world countries in two years. “Most of the youths are students, but in 10-15 years they will hold leading positions and they will assume responsibilities and perhaps guide their Countries as well as Christian communities”, the prelate underlined. “We should thus make sure that they are not only competent but also capable of identifying a fair value-based system”. “Welcoming the guests in living communities”. The Polish Church has responsibly assumed the commitment for the preparations of the WYD, which involve organizational aspects, the reception facilities of young Poles arriving in Krakow, of youths arriving from other European nations and other continents. There are also spiritual elements and pertaining to socialization… Diocesan parishes and communities are thus preparing for the major youth meeting of 2016 with the Holy Father. “The world Youth Days are our common cause”, Msgr. Muskus sais in his message, referring not only to the meeting of the youths with Pope Francis but also to the previous week of appointments in the various dioceses that in the WYD tradition has become the missionary week. “We must ensure that young people from world countries feel that in the parishes that host them is present a thriving ecclesial community and precisely for this reason we look forward to the creation of groups of young volunteers engaged in the preparations and in solid spiritual formation”, underlined Fr Grzegorz Suchodolski, responsible for the organizing Committee of the meeting. “If the WYD is to reap good fruits in Poland, youth pastoral care must change in all parishes”, he said. “In several parishes, in the countryside and in cities, there are no groups of young people involved in the life of the Church”, while they have begun “in many other formation meetings”, and many young volunteers take part in initiatives “aimed at transforming them into the moderators of spiritual meetings and prayer gatherings to be held in 2016”. Organization and spiritual challenges. “Just when it seemed that youths had grown distant from the Church, John Paul II handed them the cross, telling them to bring it throughout the world. Those meetings have changed the Church and continue to change it today”, said Fr Suchodolski, who pointed out that at the news of the WYD in Krakow he “wondered” whether a city with less than 800 thousand citizens would be able to host two million pilgrims from two hundred world Countries. “For the organizers of the meeting the concrete commitment is to host these people for twelve days of full board, but the spiritual challenges that the Polish Church is called to face are equally demanding”, he said. During the missionary week (July 20-25, 2016), he said – “all the Polish territory will be a peculiar ‘campus misericordiae’ and every diocese will assume the name of one of the places of the Ancient or New Testament such as Jerico, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Emmaus, Galilee… as a reminder of God’s mercy”. The guests, after having presented and reflected with Polish people in the dioceses will head towards the sites that are symbols of mercy such as the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki. The cross in hospitals, prisons and schools. Spiritual preparation for the WYD in Krakow began on Easter Sunday, when a group of Poles in St. Peter’s Square in Rome met with Brazilians holding a wooden cross of the WYD along with the icon “Salus Populi Romani”. It happened on April 13. The day after the symbols of the traditional meeting with the Pope began their pilgrimage in Poznan through Poland and other East European countries. The journey, that will see the participation of thousands of pilgrims, will stop not only in churches in various sites but also in hospitals, like the oncological hospital of Poznan, in prisons and in schools. Since the beginning of July until December 13 the WYD symbols will be brought in pilgrimage across the dioceses of Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic. As of mid December next they will return to Poland to visit further 44 dioceses throughout 2015.

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