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World Youth Day 참가기

(9월 4일 주보 110호 1면에 실린 글의 원본입니다.)

The night of 15th July 2016 was a night to be remembered by our parish for another grace-filled and successful completion of YLMJ (열린 마음제). For me, it also marked the start of another Journey of Faith: World Youth Day 2016.

For those who are not familiar with this event, World Youth Day is an international gathering of catholic youths from all around the world for prayer, worship, and celebration of the Catholic faith. It was first initiated by St. Pope John Paul II in 1985 and is typically held every 3 years, each time in a different country and city.

In this extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, four youth members of our parish, along with many pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Sydney, were lucky enough to travel to Krakow, Poland to encounter Christ through the bible verse “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7). As a participant of the Holy Land pilgrimage, I was able to visit Jordan and Israel prior to attending the main WYD events to be held in Krakow, Poland. I visited numerous holy sites during my 8 days in Jordan and Israel. Some of my experiences included seeing the Promised Land, “A land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 3:8) as shown by God to Moses, praying the rosary whilst walking through the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross taken by Christ during His passion) and offering up my prayers and intentions beside the Tomb of Jesus. I witnessed the words of Christ come alive in front of my eyes and I realised it is for this very reason that the holy land is often called “The Fifth Gospel.”

With an enlightened heart, I was prepared to make the most of my experience for the following WYD week in Krakow. Firstly, the vast number of young Catholics I saw and met at the opening ceremony portrayed the scale of our catholic community and the power of our faith to unite people. We were also blessed by the presence of Pope Francis throughout the week, as he delivered words of inspiration to the young Catholics of today and in front of over 2.5 million people at the final mass. “Dear young people, we didn’t come into the world to vegetate, to take it easy, to make our lives a comfortable sofa to fall asleep on. No, we came for another reason: To leave a mark.” He emphasised the need for those who confuse happiness with a sofa and are immersed in ‘sofa-happiness’ to “Trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes.” This is because God expects and wants something from all of us.

It’s certainly worth thinking about how we can offer the best of ourselves to those around us. For me as a catechist, it would be becoming stronger in my faith and sharing what I learn to students, fellow teachers and the youth of our parish. With the next World Youth Day to be held in 2019 at Panama, I sincerely hope many young members of our parish will take this opportunity to explore the world, meet new people, witness the wondrous natural beauties of God’s creation and submerge themselves deeply within His divine presence.

중고등부 교사 김규동 (바오로)