#WYDKrakow by Dominic Ureta

 

I cannot put into words how grateful I am to be part of the World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. It was once only a dream that I never thought I would be part of.  Every time I would pray during the pilgrimage, I would catch myself saying “Thank you, Lord. Thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for bringing me here”. It was all just too surreal.

It was my first time to attend and experience the World Youth Day and it moved me to see different nationalities greeting each other with smiles, high fives and chanting. Being in the company of young Catholics from other nations affirmed me that my faith was alive even in the world today.

Other than meeting new people, I also made new friends from our delegation (CFC YFL). Some of them were once strangers but as the World Youth Day progressed, I found that sharing more moments with them allowed me to really see them as genuine friends. We now have a shared experience that bonds each of us together. From the endless struggles in walking mile after mile, long queues, cheering, eating in uncomfortable situations, joking and laughing together, I can truly say a lot of relationships have changed.

I am also surprised at the joy of our host families to have us in their homes. Without question and condition, they welcomed us with open arms. Despite the difficulty in communicating, I appreciated their willingness to talk to us, to spend time with us and to know more about us. I had a good time sharing stories with them. They even give us baon (packed snacks) everyday because they did not want us to get hungry. They showed us that we had a family in Poland and that they were with us in this pilgrimage.

I used to boxed by the mindset of meeting God in the churches, in prayers, in Adorations and the like. But during the World Youth Day He revealed himself in unexpected situations. He was in the people I just got to know. He was with our host families. He was by our side in the long walks that we had. He was with us when we were having our meals in uncomfortable circumstances. He was everywhere and in everything, and He continues to be present to me even after. There were just so many expected instances where I encountered Him and until now I remain at awe at my overall. This World Youth Day 2016 was an experience that I will cherish forever and I now I will never be the same again.

Dominic Ureta, Fliq Full time worker