by Maria-Pia Negro Chin, IT IS ALWAYS A good time to stop and notice the hand of God in different aspects of our lives. But – given the stressful election cycle we have just been through – thanking God for His blessings during this Thanksgiving could be a tonic for the soul.
This Year of Mercy, young people have been rediscovering the meaning of our mission to be signs and instruments of God’s loving mercy. From mercy-filled events in parishes, to teenagers’ initiatives, this jubilee has offered the world’s youth chances to experience and share mercy.
“Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded,” Pope Francis wrote in his 2015 encyclical on the environment “Laudato Si’.”
From the opening ceremonies to the closing Mass at World Youth Day, local pilgrims learned much about themselves and their journey of faith.
I recently came back from covering the diocese’s contingent to the World Youth Day (WYD) in Krakow. It was a blessing and a humbling experience to accompany the 600 teens and young adults from Brooklyn and Queens and try to chronicle how this WYD pilgrimage affected their lives.
Among their World Youth Day experiences, diocesan pilgrims attended catechesis focused on the Cross and mercy as well as Stations of the Cross with a mercy-minded focus.
It’s something that you don’t see every day: youth coming together and searching for the One person that we are all here for: Christ.
When Pope Francis made his way to the Campus Misericordiae (Field of Mercy) vigil site at Brzegi, Poland, he was a welcome sight. To and from the field, the World Youth Day pilgrims had walked around 11 miles.
“Once the pope came out everyone’s spirits lifted up,” Goncalves said. “They ran to the gate to see a glimpse of him. Everyone wanted to be part of it.”
“All I could do really was stand there and read the sign and take off my hat out of respect because there is nothing that could be said to further encapsulate what comes from this visit,” said Matthew Perez.