It is less than one month before the World Youth Day, which will be held from 25-31 July 2016 in Krakow, Poland. The atmosphere is getting hotter, both for the preparations for receiving young people from all over the world in the dioceses of our country and for the time of meeting with Pope Francis in Krakow. Our SSpS Sisters of the Polish Province, together with the youth, are preparing in many ways for this great event, especially through prayers often lifted up in the Eucharist for this particular intention. Here in our community in Racibórz, we support the World Youth Day not only through prayer, though we know that spiritual preparation is very important, but also by being visible, as strongly emphasized in the formation of Polish young people in meeting other young people from all over the world and in meeting Pope Francis.
Here in Poland, the young people are intensively formed by a number of prayer meetings in the parishes. They are given specific tasks related to accepting to their houses young people from all over the world. SSpS from Racibórz, Opole, Bydgoszcz and Mielec are also involved.
One example of preparation is in the Diocese of Opole located on St. Anna’s Mount, where we regularly meet since 2014. The formation meetings are called “the prologue”, which is mainly for volunteers and leaders and for those who want to get involved in the welcoming of young people and to participate actively in the WYD. The last meeting was held in the last weekend of May, when I was named MAX Prologue. The entire prologue focused on deciding and choosing the Lord Jesus as our King. It began on Friday. It was the opportunity to experience the way of light that shows how Jesus seeks us. It was about building the Kingdom of God here on earth. Activities included morning fitness exercises, various workshops such as on first aid and on media, playing, singing and praying together, and community building exercises.
Two of our junior SSpS from Opole – Sr. Maksymiliana Maria Lichota and Sr. Agnieszka Królikowska – took part in these workshops. They will take part in the diocesan days – Sr. Agnieszka as a diocesan volunteer, while Sr. Maksymiliana Maria will go with the young people to Krakow. In Raciborz, three of our Sisters – Sr. Olga Piluszyk, Sr. Anna Narloch and Sr. Maria Treffoń – will go, together with the young people gathered from several parishes, to participate in the meetings in the dioceses before the trip to Krakow.
There was a special day on June 13 for the whole diocese – a trip to St. Anna’s Mount and to Opole. Our guests from 25 countries around the world, our youth from Opole diocese, and our SSpS Sisters from Opole and Racibórz participated in the Eucharist and in the concerts prepared for the day. Among the singers were our Sisters from the community of Opole. The big choir was created earlier, as has been every year at Corpus Christ. For the last few years in Opole and in other cities of our country, a great Worship Concert takes place in the evening of the day of Corpus Christi. Soloists and a great choir of people are singing and playing various instruments for the glory of the Lord.
WYD is getting closer and closer. Slowly, we are getting to know who will come. Some young people will stay in our parishes and family homes. In our SSpS communities, we will host youths from Mielec and Sulejówek. The youth from England, Costa Rica and Siberia will come to our homes. The Sisters who will go with the young people to Krakow are coming one from Opole, one from Sulejówek, two from Bydgoszcz, three from Mielec and three from Raciborz.
In addition to the formation is searching for material and financial support, considering that it is an expensive trip for many young people. In our Sacred Heart parish in Racibórz, we sold rosaries during Advent with prayer and special intention for the young people participating in the WYD in Krakow. And also, during recollections days for men and women in our convent, we organized financial help to young people as our contribution to the event.
We look forward to young people in Racibórz and in other cities and preparing everything to meet them with open hearts and hands and giving them a good time through the knowledge of our culture, families, parishes, and places where the need of mercy is evident in a special way. For one day, which was named Volunteer Day during the diocesan youth day, the young people will be able to go to hospitals, social care homes, and day care for children. The program of that day in Raciborz will end with common Way of the Cross around our city. For our group in Racibórz, consisting of young people from several local parishes, there will be another task. We were asked by the Bishop of Opole to help conduct catechesis in Krakow.
This amazing meeting of young people around Christ, together with the Pope Francis, is getting closer. This event also touches us – Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit. Personally, I am looking forward to the arrival of the young to our country, remembering the WYD in Madrid, where, as a Sister, I participated together with fellow students from Warsaw. I remember most that we shared faith, joy, presence, while getting to know other young people from different parts of the world and creating with them one community, communion, and unity in such great diversity. I’m glad that now we can host this same event in our country and, again, I can participate, this time, both in the preparations and in the event in our diocese, in our city in Racibórz and in Krakow.
Sr. Maria Treffoń, SSpS – Poland