“We can say that World Youth Day begins today and continues tomorrow, in your homes, since that is where Jesus wants to meet you from now on. The Lord doesn’t want to remain in this beautiful city, or in cherished memories alone. He wants to enter your homes, to dwell in your daily lives.” Pope Francis, final WYD Mass These. These are the words that matter. They matter now that we have come down from the mountain and have returned to the steady day in and day out, or are sett
Q: What should we do when suffering comes to us? A: Accept it with a smile. Q: Accept it with a smile? A: Yes, with a smile, because it is the greatest gift that God gives to us. Q: What? To smile? A: To smile at God. To have the courage to accept everything that he send us, and to give him what he asks of us with a big smile. Saint (!) Teresa of Calcutta I arrived in Krakow a week before the World Youth Day festivities began, along with 65 other guides ready to be trained. W
On Friday came the moment they’d all been waiting for: free time. We set the group loose in Krakow, distributing city maps and issuing directions. (High schoolers need to be with an adult! Call this number in case of an emergency! Be back here at 10 pm, no later!) I set off on my own, the first time all week without a flag by my side and 40 others behind me. I put my map and walkie talkie away. My pace quickened as I neared my destination, my anticipation growing as I awaited
Photo by Sally Yu It all started with the hot dogs in a box. That’s when I knew. It was a charmingly dreary, rainy day and we had just attended Mass in a vast field of primary colored ponchos. We sent our group off on the long walk back to the hostel, save for a pack of the boys who’d help us carry dinner home. Having left our trademark flag with the others to keep the group together, I held my orange bandana aloft for the guys to follow in the impossible crowd. We nudged and
I wrote this over my last breakfast in Poland. It’s unpolished and true. I sat in the square, watching horse-drawn carriages roll slowly by, waiting for the trumpeter to sound the hour atop St. Mary’s tower, alternating between scribbling my thoughts and reading a sweet gifted book and missing my pilgrims who had just departed and wanting to cry from utter joy. God is tender and He is passionate. And He’s given me back the gift of lasting joy. I’ve begun to taste a deep, deep
Photo by Yongmi Jo When I look at the cross, I see hope. I see the joy of redemption, the power of love over death, and the gravity of Jesus’ sacrifice for me and for the world. When I walked the dirt roads of Auschwitz a few weeks ago, I saw despair. I saw a horrific crime against humanity, the unthinkable power of evil over the masses, and the depth of sorrow brought about by such destruction. Following in the steps of the 1.5 million brought there to be executed and worse,
Photo by Clare Lee This time last year, I wrote of my suitcase heart. My seemingly boundless capacity to grow in such affection for more and more and more of God’s people. My capacity to love, quickly and greatly. I was coming off the high of a mission trip, a stint in England that set my heart and soul ablaze. Now, too, I’m coming off the high of a trip. This time, it is the utter joy and chaos and miraculousness of World Youth Day that I’m reeling from, that has left me wit
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