I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.Luke 1:38
In 1984 at the end of the Holy Year of Redemption, about 300 000 youth from all over the world took heed to Pope John Paul II invitation to join him for an International Jubilee of Youth on Palm Sunday at St Peters Square. This was the beginning of World Youth Day (WYD) as we know it today.
The following Palm Sunday, Our Holy Father welcomed the youth of the world to Rome again. Later, announcing the establishment of WYD on December 20, 1985, and the first official WYD was held in 1986.
The last 12 WYD events have resulted in astounding numbers of youth answering that invitation of the Holy Father to be Christ’s light to the world.
The Holy Father, John Paul II left a legacy for the youth in his establishment of World Youth Day, which Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis has faithfully continued, carrying on the hope of their predecessor’s for the youth of the world, inviting them and commissioning them as Christ’s disciples to be faithful living witnesses.
As we approach the middle of this calendar year, the nights come quicker and the days colder with Winter upon us, but we cannot disregard the buzz of anticipation for WYD 2019. This has become a closer reality for the youth of our Parish. They have embraced the incredible Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has enabled us to yet again reach out to our youth and offer them the amazing chance to get to experience Christ in a truly profound way.
This year Our Lady of Lourdes has kicked off its plans to send 8 youth to WYD in Panama in 2019. Our Pilgrims, Danielle Smith, Amber Klassen, Mercedes Royston, Charllene Tsamba, Victoria Giuricich (self-funded), Andrea Giuricich (self-funded), Federica Giuricich (self-funded), Malenga Mkhonto (self-funded) are excited and will be slogging through the dark and cold days of winter to raise enough funds for registration in July 2017. From the sales of our famous delicious cupcakes to hot and spicy samoosa’s on a cold winters day, to blissful holidays on the beautiful coastline of Umhlanga Rocks to Spring movie nights with delicious curry and rice, we will be doing it all
…SO WATCH THIS SPACE!
The WYD experience will be a catalyst that God has put into the lives of our pilgrims to remind them of his Gospel message, especially the following points:• To open oneself to the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness.• To seek obedience by being servants of the Lord according to his word.• To seek opportunities for reconciliation. • To be more compassionate and merciful to others, especially to those who hurt or offend.• To invest more in Gods people, not so much in tasks or programs or accomplishments.• To be ambassadors of Christ to the rest of the world.The Holy Father said it best at the end of his homily at the closing Mass in Krakow (WYD 2016):
The Holy Father said it best at the end of his homily at the closing Mass in Krakow (WYD 2016):
"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: in your studies, your first years of work, your friendships and affections, your hopes and dreams… How much he wants his word to be able to speak to you day after day so that you can make his Gospel your own so that it can serve as a compass for you on the highways of life!" (Homily for Closing Mass, July 31, 2016, Krakow)
That is the true objective of the WYD experience.
We continue in faith to prepare our Pilgrims for this awesome experience and we invite all our parishioners to become a part of this great journey so that our Ambassadors can go forth and become servants of the Lord, and ambassadors of our Parish.
We look forward to continuing with you on this journey…
|Year and Location||Theme|
|1986– Rome, Italy||Always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you.– 1Pt 3:15|
|1987– Buenos Aires, Argentina||We ourselves have known and put our faith in God’s love towards ourselves.– 1Jn 4:16|
|1989– Santiago de Compostela, Spain||I am the way, the truth, and the life– Jn 14:6|
|1991– Czestochowa, Poland||You have received a spirit of sonship.– Romans 8:15|
|1993– Denver. USA||I came that they might have life, and have it to the full.– Jn 10:10|
|1995– Manila, The Philippines||As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.– Jn 20:21|
|1997– Paris, France||Teacher, where are you staying? Come and see.– Jn 1:38-39|
|2000– Rome, Italy Jubilee||The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.– Jn 1:14|
|2002-Toronto, Canada||You are the salt of the earth; You are the light of the world.– Mt 5:13-14|
|2005– Cologne, Germany||We have come to worship him.– Mt 2:2|
|2008– Sydney, Australia||You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses-Acts 1, 8|
|2011– Madrid, Spain||Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith-Col 2:7|
|2013– Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||Go and Make Disciples of All Nations-Mt 28:19|
|2016– Kraków, Poland||Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.-Mt 5:7|
|2019– Panama City, Panamá||I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.-Lk 1:38|
World Youth Day in Krakow was an experience I never expected. The intense love, warmth, and wholeness were overwhelming. My experience was one that my mind and heart still struggle to comprehend, but my soul understands and the Lord understands. It was as if during the entire pilgrimage Jesus was having secret meetings with my soul; conversing with it, warming it, consoling it, changing it. I was completely oblivious to it until I came back home and something in me had shifted.
I can say that I can do all things in Him who strengthens me. I can say that I love Jesus Christ and I trust Him and that I am never alone, and I have never ever believed those words so much. Every single cell in my body rejoices and sings in this truth. In Krakow- during this pilgrimage- I was not theatrically changed, there was no big significant moment that hit me like a bus and changed my entire life instantly. No – I was not changed, I was reminded. I was reminded of how much I am loved and that I am anything but alone.
Throughout my life, I’ve never had Catholic friends, the only people that I could relate to spiritually and religiously was my family. But on this pilgrimage, I was surrounded by 3 million Catholic youth.
Fellow Parishioners, this was a phenomenal experience. I was someone that had felt alone in my faith as a member of the youth, but then on this pilgrimage, God showed me that I am part of the strongest army on the face of the earth.
Millions of us, young soldiers for God. The love for Jesus Christ that emanated so profusely from the souls of the youth from every corner of the world, was exalting. I forged immaculate relationships with the people around me.
I had never felt so supported, so unified, so warm. The conditions that surrounded us were hardly perfect, we faced the rain, the heat, the crowds- but come rain or shine, come hell or high water, we were there rejoicing and basking in the Holy Spirit together, and ravished in the comfort and content that I constantly felt. I wasn’t alone, I got the opportunity to deepen my relationship with God with millions like me, and we got to do it together.
There is so much more I wish I could’ve shared with you regarding this pilgrimage, but I feel that there are no existing words that could truly capture the experience. All I can do is thank you, each and every single one of you. I got to go on a pilgrimage that shifted everything in my life, because of your unceasing support over the past two years. So thank you. From the deepest part of my heart and soul, I thank you and God bless.
MEGAN SAGE SMITH