World Youth Day 2016 officially starts Tuesday July 25 in Krakow, Poland. Thousands of pilgrims have been entering the city the past couple days, and thousands more will be arriving between now and Tuesday. Everybody’s got opinions about it – a mix of favorable and unfavorable. There are definite Debbie Downers out there, for example, who think it’s more debauchery and irreverence than a celebration of grace and virtue. I think World Youth Day is great for the Church. It’s an opportunity to witness to the world the vibrancy, vitality, and truths of the Catholic Church. Graces are poured out, hearts are converted, vocations are realized, faith is strengthened. Does stupid stuff happen? Of course – you gather millions of sinners together over a week, and guess what – stupid stuff will occur. But stupid stuff has been happening in the Church for about…oh, what, 2000 years? More often than not, the tales of sin and revelry are portrayed as normal behavior, but they are exceptions, not the rule. I’ve never attended, so I can’t say with 100% certainty – but based on testimonies I’ve read and heard, the Good that’s happened at the World Youth Day events has monumentally outweighed the Bad. Some people have to be miserable, I guess.
This year holds special importance to me, as a couple family members are headed there. I’m looking forward to getting their reactions and hearing of their experiences.
If you’re interested in keeping up on the goings on, Aleteia is a great place to start. Here’s a short piece on WYD2016 that published today.
Please keep the pilgrims, Poland, and Pope Francis in your prayers. World Youth Day runs through Sunday July 31. Click here for official information on the event.