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athgarvan

WHY A WORLD YOUTH DAY?

For the next few days a World Youth Day is being held in Krakow in Poland. Pope Francis will spend four days there. A WYD takes place every four years. How would a non-Catholic view an international World Youth Day? Would there be more than a spark of curiosity, I wonder, as massive crowds of young people flood into some city? What brings such huge numbers of happy young people from so many nations and cultures to come together to celebrate some aspect of Christian life?
                                                                                                                            
It all started in 1985 when Pope Paul II invited young people to gather in Rome to celebrate Palm Sunday. It was a great success. The first International WYD (1987) took place in Buenos Aires. There have been 12 such International gatherings since. We’re talking here of gatherings of hundreds of thousands of young people in one place. While organized by Catholic Bishops youth of all faiths (or none) are invited to attend and encounter Christ in their lives.

At each WYD young people are asked to reflect on a particular call of Christ in the gospels, such as: “We ourselves have known and put our faith in God’s love towards us.” ; “I am the way, the truth and the life”. ; “You have received a spirit of sonship” ; .As the Father sent me, so am I sending you”.

I wish the present gathering in Poland every success and may it be fruitful in the hearts of young  (and the not so young) in this crazy world we are all living in.


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