On the Friday, July 29, the diocesan pilgrims attended a catechesis focused on the Cross and mercy at the Tauron Arena. There pilgrims heard from speakers like Real Life Catholic’s Chris Stefanick and Cardinal Timothy Dolan and heard testimonies of pilgrims of past WYDs.
One of the catechetical sessions that most affected the pilgrims was the one given by Sister Gaudia Skass of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. The religious congregation is best known for promoting the message of Divine Mercy received by the 20th-century Polish nun of the same order Saint Faustina Kowalska.
Sister Gaudia reflected on encountering the love and mercy of Christ through pain and suffering.
Jasmin Collado, 29, from Our Lady of Sorrows, Corona, said that she has been inspired by the catechesis.
“I was smiling the whole time because we have to look at the cross and remember that it is through mercy and love that we are here today,” Collado said.
The sister asked attendees to hold their crosses or rosary beads and to think “For me” when looking at the cross.
“Everything from the very beginning was for me. Jesus created the world for me, he became human for me, He left his wisdom his teaching in the bibles for me. He perform many miracles then and now for me. He gave his life for me,” she said.
Imitating Jesus living for others and dying for others, she continued, and this starts with the little things like being patient with others or sacrificing your time to take care of somebody.
The day’s Mass at Tauron Arena was celebrated by Cardinal Dolan, other bishops including Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Auxiliary Bishop Witold Mroziewski, as well as dozens of other priests.
Victoria Edwards, 20, a parishioner of Sacred Heart parish in East Glendale traveling with St. Mel’s parish, was affected by Cardinal Dolan’s homily during the Mass.
“He talked about his niece being struck with cancer. Even though they tried to talk to her, she would not listen and it took a complete stranger to be able to change her perspective,” she said. “It just goes to show you that the persons we see in our daily life might not always be the ones that break us out of our shell but God is through the person we can’t really put a face on.”
Afterward, the diocesan group headed to the grounds of the Mercy Sisters Convent, where pilgrims acted as readers during the Stations of the Cross, while Bishop DiMarzio offered reflections linking the stations to Mercy.
“I think is good that we get to listen to different aspect of mercy because we get to get more in touch with our faith,” said Erika Diaz, 17, a student at St. Agnes H.S.
Bishop DiMarzio also talked about forgiveness, mercy and the need for temperance to be able to face our daily crosses and temptations.
“The cross the we carry daily is not the 300 pounds that we estimate the cross (of Jesus) was but it could be anything that we don’t want to do,” the Bishop said. “We have lot of crosses that come across our lives that we want to avoid, but nevertheless they are how we can prepare to carry the real crosses of life: the burdens of marriage, priesthood, religious life – each one of those vocations entails a life of sacrifice.”
“We learn courage by taking up the little things. … But we can’t make our wills do what God wants us to do,” the bishop said. “Our crosses in life, whatever they are, are not something that God has put to test us, but to make us better, to make us more in conformity with Him.”
(Photos: Maria-Pia Negro Chin)