U.S. Maronites at World Youth Day - Poland

By Sr. Therese Maria Touma

I along with Father Rudy Wakim pastor of Our Lady of Victory Maronite Church in Pittsburgh spiritually accompanied the 28  Maronite pilgrims from the U.S. who attended World Youth Day (WYD) in Krakow, Poland July 24-August 3, 2016. The pilgrimage week included Catechesis, Catholic Festivals, Praise and Worship, the Sacrament of Confession, the Way of the Cross, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, daily Mass, and lots of walking and penances that are part of a pilgrimage experience.  WYD was attended by approximately 2.5 million young people from all over the world along with Pope Francis who presided over the Saturday vigil and Sunday Mass. 

What an awesome opportunity it was to see how young, vibrant and fully alive our Catholic Church is with so many different communities coming to together to witness, pray and share the joy of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. World Youth Day is truly an uplifting celebration of our Catholic Faith and a beautiful reminder of our call to be missionary disciples sharing mercy with those in need, by walking in solidarity with those who suffer or are persecuted or marginalized for the faith.

Two highlights from World Youth Day in Kraków, Poland was the vigil and adoration with Pope Francis on Saturday night. As one family we came together from all corners of the earth to praise, implore and thank our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. What a powerful moment it was of communion, solidarity and strength. I was inspired to see other young people on their knees praying for world peace and for all those who struggle.

The second high point for me, was being in the actual presence of our Shepherd, Pope Francis, welcoming him, listening to his words which nourish, encourage and challenge us to be those missionary disciples who share mercy and joy with all those who need it.  I look forward to the next WYD 2019 in Panama. Consider joining us!

At the Papal Welcome listening to Pope Francis' inspiring address to pilgrims from all over the world!
We are pictured with some of the Maronite Pilgrims from the U.S. in front of the Saint John Paul II Shrine.
Meeting With Youth from Poland and awaiting Pope Francis' arrival.

Participating in Mass at the Divine Mercy Shrine
Walking with our Maronite pilgrims from the U.S. to the field of Mercy on Saturday for the Vigil with Pope Francis and youth from all over the world.

Setting up camp for the Vigil and Papal Mass at the Mercy Field!
Sr. Therese Maria meeting with other Australian pilgrims at the Vigil.

We are pictured with the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at the convent of Saint Faustina, Kraków Poland.