WYD 2016 – POLAND KRAKOW
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