Ms. Jessa Mariel dela Peña of the Salesian Youth Movement–Philippines writes straight from where the 31st World Youth Day is unfolding. On their first day in Karokow, Poland, she writes in her WYD Journal the following:
Today was a “free” day for us here in Krakow. After more than 24 hours of traveling to Poland, a bit of relaxation was something we were all looking forward to.
We are staying in foster homes, the kind members of the Parish of Saint Stanislaus Kostki generously volunteered to host us for this week. The Parish where we are staying is run by the Salesians here in Krakow.
Our group decided to visit the Basilica of St. Mary the great first. It is the seat of the bishop of Krakow. The word is beautiful is not enough to describe how marvelous that church is. The architecture and the art of the Church were things I only saw in encyclopedias when I was younger. We were blessed to have been allowed to celebrate mass in one of the small chapels inside the basilica.
In Fr. Joebeth Vivo’s homily, he reminded us of how blessed we are to be in Krakow and how participating in the World Youth Day would make us great, how it would make us famous back home. He also told us to make good use of the “greatness” and the “fame” that comes with the experience.
As I was listening to the homily, I remembered the famous quote from Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Being here in Krakow comes with great responsibility. Aside from representing the Salesian Youth of the Philippines, the bigger task is to allow the WYD experience to transform us.
The real challenge is to not just keep the input to be given to us in the following days in our heads, but to allow it to extend to our hearts and hands. That way, more than sharing the experience by telling stories when we get back home, we will be able to be examples of God’s mercy by being more patient, more forgiving, and more compassionate.