The WYD attracts youths in Eastern Europe

The project "A ticket for his brother" to raise funds for pilgrims from 13 countries in Eastern Europe

“A ticket for his brother”. It is the initiative of the Poland’s Pastoral Care of the Youth ahead of the World Youth Day in Krakow in 2016: helping young people in difficulty from Eastern Europe and Asia, so that in two years they may attend the great meeting with the Pope in Krakow. The event is a feast for all, as highlighted in the invitation of Francis “to young people, so that they may become missionaries of Christ”. As the Pope said, “no one can be a missionary without first becoming a disciple”. SIR Europe collected the personal testimony of Dorota Abdelmoula Meriem, 28, director of the charity project, involved in the organization of the WYD as coordinator for international relations. “Our goal is to let the young people discover that they are all invited to be missionaries towards each other, but first they must be helped to hear the voice of Jesus who invites them to become his disciples”. Ferment in all dioceses. Expectations are high among young Poles. “The history of WYD shows that each meeting was a milestone experience for the Church of the hosting country”. The event of 2016, entrusted to the same group of young people who runs the secretariat, will have a strong spiritual bearing. Meanwhile, all 44 Polish dioceses are in a state of great anticipation, and there is no meeting, gathering or youth event where the WYD is not mentioned. “Young people with their priests organize Sunday WYD in their parishes”, continued the director, marked by sharing of experiences, and moments of prayer. Workshops for volunteers are ongoing, along with meetings with those families that will host the pilgrims during the days of pre-World Youth Day in the dioceses. Poland’s Pastoral Care of Youths, under the guidance of Fr. Gzregor Suchodolski, has been involving the families who will be providing hospitality to pilgrims. “The most important thing is that young people are praying together even now,” said Dorota Abdelmoula, who left from Warsaw to embrace an adventure that is bringing her across the Country. “It’s the most important awakening I have ever seen. That’s why we focus on the spiritual preparation program”. For this, Poland’s Pastoral Care of Youths has focused on the message of the Beatitudes. In 2014 the dioceses have promoted reflections on “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” while in 2015 the theme of prayer will be “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The WYD, however, will have as its motto “Blessed are the merciful, for they will have mercy”. Fundraising and welcome. Involving young people in large numbers: it is an urgent need of the Polish Church for the next world meeting. “The active charity project, ‘Bilet Dla Brata’, ‘A ticket for his brother’, aims to raise funds for pilgrims from 13 countries in Eastern Europe, Trans-Caucasian Countries, and former Soviet republics who wish to attend the event” (www.biletdlabrata.pl). The project is addressed to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The initiative is also shared with the Pontifical Council for the Laity, but it extends beyond the existing solidarity fund for the WYD. In fact, the Polish Church hopes that young people will take the initiative in favour of their peers who would otherwise find it hard to reach Poland, especially for economic reasons. “We are receiving very positive feedback- said Abdelmoula -. Many of our young people remember that in the past they themselves were helped to participate in the WYD and now they want to do the same for others. Events held in dioceses, parishes and schools are an opportunity to present the charity project. The endeavour is carried out entirely by young people and it has already been initiated in over 20 Polish dioceses. “We received positive feedback also from families, mindful that the WYD is a good opportunity for the whole Church, especially for young people. Many of them not only help the project, they also declared their willingness to open their homes to the pilgrims. Spreading the Gospel. We are receiving many messages from young people from different countries who wish to attend the next WYD. For example, we have received emails from Siberia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania”. Dorota Abdelmoula acknowledged liveliness and mobilization regarding the organization. “Preliminary estimates from Ukraine show that the group of pilgrims from this country could exceed 100 thousand units only if young people could afford it”. “For many of them – added the coordinator of the event – this is the first chance to feel protagonists in the universal Church”. It is not, however, only a matter of quantity and numbers of pilgrims, stressed Abdelmoula. “We believe that even a small group of passionate young Christians, with their joy, may spark off the involvement of local communities and spread the Gospel”.

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