Catecheses, multi-language prayers, a large concert along with a typical Polish dance performance coupled by polka lessons. A giant screen will broadcast the meeting in Krakow with Pope Francis in real time. Typical Polish dishes will also be available, such as pierogies and kielbasa. For those unable to travel to Poland for the World Youth Day, the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. has set up a huge event called “Krakow in the capital.” The initiative is scheduled to take place next July 30, extending an ideal bridge that will connect Washington to Krakow to share the faith experience despite the different time zones. This is but the most advertised US initiative organized by dioceses, archdioceses and parishes, to live the spirit of the WYD also in the United States.
Inspiration and strength. Genevieve Mougey, member of the US Bishops’ Conference, initiator of “Krakow in the Capital”, said that just like the pilgrimage to Poland, the US event will enable participants “to be fully reinvigorated” and continue with greater courage their journey of faith and solidarity. “We have come to realize that along our journey of faith we are accompanied by our brothers and sisters from world countries”, Mougey said. Paul Jarzembowski, US coordinator of the WYD on behalf of the Bishops’ conference, added:
“The WYD has been conceived for everyone, from whichever place in the five continents. One may or may not have the possibility of travelling to Poland, but nobody is excluded from the encounter with Christ and with His mercy.”
American celebrations. Forty thousand youths from EU Countries are expected in Poland, three times as many as those who participated in the youth gathering of 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, many more will be participating from abroad. In addition to the initiative in Washington D.C., a pilgrimage has been planned at the Shrine of the Holy Virgin of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Illinois, organized by the archdiocese of Chicago; a celebrated at Xavier High School in Middletown, Connecticut, coordinated by the dioceses of Norwich, Bridgeport and by the archdiocese of Hartford. Other initiatives include, inter alia, a large event at St. Mary’s High School in Orchard Lake Village, Michigan, with prayer gatherings and ample space for socialization, music and outdoor activities. A large number of meetings, camps, vigils, concerts, have been planned in connection with the WYD in Poland, extending from the Midwest (Cumming in Iowa; Clinton in Ohio), to the South (Savannah in Georgia; Penitas and San Angelo in Texas) to the West coast e (Colfax in California) where the WYD will be celebrated also with an open-air night-camping initiative.
Missionaries in the world. “Krakow in the capital” and all other socialization and prayer initiatives for young Catholics in the United States, constitute an opportunity for the Church to be open to transmit her message with a different kind of language. The concept was explained by Jonathan Lewis, director of youth initiatives in the diocese of Washington, coordinator of “Rio in Washington” in 2013:
“The millennials – as young people are now designated – are seeking something authentic, challenges that make life worth of being lived.
Initiatives such as ‘Krakow in the capital’ inspire and challenge young adults to live as missionaries in contemporary society. It makes them feel motivated to share their faith inside the family, at school, in parishes, in the workplace and within the community. It’s another way to remember that we form part of something greater.”