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World Youth Day: Sanctuary of Mercy

World Youth Day: Sanctuary of Mercy

World Youth Day Group Photo_Departure

Thanks to the support of a generous donor, four of our boys and girls attended World Youth Day in Poland. The trip is a wonderful opportunity for our young people to explore and celebrate their faith alongside young people from all over the world, as well as a chance to immerse themselves in Polish culture.

During the weeklong trip the kids participated in spiritual celebrations, saw local religious iconography, and so much more.

Coworkers Marc Velasquez and Meg Prahin accompanied our boys and girls on their journey. Despite their busy travel schedule, Velasquez found time to send regular updates back Home. We will be running a recurring series featuring Velasquez’s dispatches; his second is below. Be sure to stay tuned for more news from Poland!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Once again, full is a perfect adjective to describe our day. The schedule was full, the places we visited were full of visitors, and we are turning in tonight again spiritually full from the events of the day.

We began by shaking off the jet lag and little bit of sleep we were able to get by participating in a “the Way of Mercy” walk between the shrine of Saint John Paul II and the basilica of the Divine Mercy. We were able to go in and pray at each sanctuary. The walk between the two was a scenic stroll through the valley.

We also encountered, for the first time today, the immense crowds that gather at World Youth Day. We saw the way crowds make it harder to get from place to place, the way they can cause logjams in narrow streets. But we also interacted with so many people from other places from all over the world. Kelli has learned the joy of trading pins with others, and amassed quite a collection. She may also already be out of pins, which is quite impressive given that she had over 100 to trade.

Mercy Home young woman Kelli (pictured third from left) with friends she made at World Youth Day in Poland.

I have to say, the kids were champions today dealing with the heat and the crowds. There were ups and downs as they felt with aches pains and fatigue, but they always rebounded and kept moving. I was even more impressed with the way they handled the opening Mass. As we were walking from the town center to the park where the Mass was to be held, we got caught in a bad rainstorm, and yet, the kids kept moving forward with their ponchos and umbrellas, and we were all excited and energized to be part of the crowd as the skies cleared just before the Mass started.

Tomorrow should be an easier day. We hope to get more rest tonight, but we also have a less packed agenda. We should be able to explore Kraków on our own a bit more tomorrow afternoon before dinner with the Archbishop. And of course, everybody is energized to meet and talk to other World Youth Day pilgrims and to trade more pins.

All our prayers from Poland back to all of you,

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