By Maria-Pia Negro Chin
On the second official day, the diocesan pilgrims attended a catechesis by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
They gathered at St. Joseph Church, Krakow, on July 27 to hear his talk about mercy.
After a warm reception from his young flock, the bishop talked about how the other sign of the coin of love is mercy.
“The world needs God’s mercy in so many different ways that each of us can be a minister of mercy to the world,” Bishop DiMarzio said.
He added that all those who want to serve Christ can be “apostles of mercy.”
Some of the young people from the diocese gave their testimonies about what mercy means to them.
Andrea Hernandez, from Presentation B.V.M. Church, Jamaica, shared how for a long time she struggled with a sin and ended up avoiding confession because she felt too ashamed to ask for forgiveness.
She found how through the sacrament of reconciliation one can, in fact, feel God’s love.
“When you feel free, that is God’s mercy,” he said. “He still loves you, He would not be ashamed of you. So, don’t be discouraged.”
Two pilgrims from St. Bartholomew Church, East Elmhurst, talked about service and mercy. Bremy Alburqueque, 20, spoke of a World Youth Day retreat to Philadelphia that was filled with service opportunities.
“Imagine how much light we can each bring into the world if everyone of us would come together to help our neighbors,” he said.
Fellow parishioner, Louise Lingat, 22, also shared her experience during her year of service. After college, she devoted herself to working with students with special needs.
Lingat describes her service experience as “merciful” and something that transformed her heart at a time she was feeling disconnected from her faith.
At the suggestion of her spiritual director, she is more involved in service activities. She said mercy, compassion and service are “parts of being a Christian.”
Franco Pallante, 16, from Blessed Trinity, Breezy Point, said, “It was interesting to hear kids close to my age speaking about personal experiences,” he said.
Claire-Iphanise Michel, from Our Lady Help of Christians, Midwood, said that she also was able to connect with the talk about “the fear of confession but also the reward of confession.”
“I always feel better after I go (confess) but I always feel scared to go,” she said. “It was great to hear about the meaning of mercy that comes along with confession.”
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