Hey everyone! Happy Friday! :)
I'm sharing more photos from World Youth Day 2016. :) If you want to read more about it check out the previous post! I wrote about my experience as a pilgrim participating in this amazing event! The last couple photos are from the last evening mass and worship. Seeing 3 million people gathered together in prayer was an incredible sight. I included some photos I found of the aerial view that night. The sea of candles is mesmerizing. So thankful I could be there.
Today one of my best friends, Marlena ( pictured above. ), will be sharing her experience as a World Youth Day volunteer!
Hey everyone! This is Marlena. Here is my attempt at showing you a snapshot of God's Grace in my life:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged" (thank you Jane Austen) that I am quite an impulsive, let's-think-over-everything-except-the-important-stuff kind of person. I'm not exactly proud of that. This particular characteristic of mine has got me into quite a number of inconvenient (scary), slightly on the verge (dangerous) and questionable (stupid) situations. But, even in this fault of mine God has found a well of Grace, because He always gave me good people and last-minute help to get me out of what I would always think was a 'well, now I've done it' moment.
It was Saturday around 11:55 pm, on the penultimate day of WYD2016. I was on my feet all day, walking 3 hours to get to the fields of the main events, running to the gates of the sectors to help sort out tickets and let people in and out, and point them in the directions of the food points, reconciliation, translate for lost pilgrims, etc. My plan was to work until midnight, then go back to my apartment in Krakow with other volunteers and get some sleep before the next day. With my shift being over, I joined my friends in walking back to Krakow.
But as we walked through the fields and I watched people sit in circles and laugh, sing, pray, I thought:
"Why would I want to leave this place right now, when a night like this is not going to happen for me ever again"?
So, naturally, I told my friends "Sorry, I have to go back," and turned around (sorry about that, Koperty). After working at the gate for a little longer (yep, midnight, and there was still pilgrim traffic!) I went to walk around and ended up singing songs in languages I did not know, laughing with people I just met, and learning medieval dances from youth and barefooted-monks at 3am. When I finally decided to go to sleep somewhere, I realized that I only had a sweatshirt and some food in my back-pack... since I didn't plan on staying the night at the fields.
Well. Freezing to death while sleeping under the stars was not quite an attractive possibility, but there was no going back to the cozy apartment now. So, I found a tiny area on the ground next to some Ukranian group, molded my backpack to fit my head, curled up and closed my eyes.
I know. I know what you're thinking. But, like I said, God has a cure for my silliness and complete irresponsibility, because a few minutes later I hear some people next to me talking in Ukranian, and suddenly a soft sleeping bag covered my already cold body and delicate hands patted my shoulders. Opening my eyes I saw a young woman's face - I tried to tell her that I would be fine but, in broken Polish, she told me:
"I have another one, it's bigger so my friend and I are going to share it. You'll freeze until morning if you don't take this one."
And that was it. That was the last minute help - but God is never late. Who knew, that in 3 million people, the one unprepared little girl would find the one super-responsible sister. Maybe to you it may not seem like much, but to me, in that moment, I felt God's care so much. Jesus cares even for the silly mistakes we make. He always has a way out, another route, a person to put on my path. I regret not asking her for her name, but it's okay. We'll laugh when we see each other in Heaven :)
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:26
Marlena & Magdalena :)
World Youth Day 2016 - Krakow. You probably didn't get to see any of it in the news. I mean it wasn't a big deal, just 3 MILLION young people from all over the world gathered in one city to worship JESUS.
For those of you who don't know, World youth day is a massive Catholic youth festival led by the Pope. It is held every 2-3 years, every time in a different city. Young people (age is just a number here ;) ) from all over the world come together for a couple of days to sing, dance, meet each other, worship, and praise GOD. As a part of our honeymoon, Mario and I were lucky enough to be able to experience it for the first time. The theme of this World Youth Day was MERCY. From July 26 - July 31, we got to take part in many concerts, conferences, meetings, daily Mass, worship, and so much more.
And to make it even more special, this time it was in Krakow, Poland. My home country, and a city I've loved for so long. There was no way we could miss it.
The atmosphere that filled the city cannot be put into words. Youth from all over the world spread joy and laughter in every corner of the old historic town. Breaking out in song and dance was not unusual, and greatly encouraged. :) You could feel so much love and solidarity. Strangers became friends instantly and everyone was welcome. It didn't matter if you spoke a different language, because almost everyone did. :) The trolleys and busses were overflowing with pilgrims and churches and schools were transferred into camping grounds. The whole city was basically shut down for this celebration of Mercy.
These moments were some of the most wonderful moments in our lives. The whole time I couldn't help but think " is this what Heaven is like? " Everyone together in UNITY, undivided by race and joined by one major factor, their love for JESUS. It really showed me the power of the church. It is pretty surreal and awe inspiring when you see 3 + million people gathered together to pray and worship.
I am so incredibly grateful for this experience. I'm even more grateful I could experience all of this with my husband and also with our friends and family who we love dearly. :)
Happy Wednesday!! Stay tuned for Part II. :)
Led by the Light, captivated by beauty. | Wife, photographer, world traveler, lover of beauty, follower of Christ
"Let Go and Let God"