World Youth Day 2016 – Experiencing the Love of God Working Through Millions
Posted on August 11 2016
A few months prior to World Youth Day Poland, I watched my mom almost pass away right before my eyes and I had broken up with my boyfriend of 3 years to refocus on God. I had kept a strong faith and pushed through the trials that God has thrown in my path, but I also felt very jaded and gradually became more negative as World Youth Day approached. My prayer life dipped and I was filled with gut-wrenching anxiety of what was to come. Desperately trying to fight those feelings, I sought spiritual guidance from a priest and from my youth ministry. I had a muted excitement for WYD but there was a lingering emptiness and doubt that lay in my heart.
After the Los Angeles Diocese’s send-off mass, we were given My Saint My Hero prayer partner bracelets (WYD edition.) I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able to give it away because I’d lack the ability to create a meaningful conversation or friendship with another pilgrim. Once we began our pilgrimage from Italy, to Germany, and at last Poland, I began to pray and meditate through the form of Lectio Divina. I opened my heart to whatever plans God had in store for me and truly tried to focus on what He wanted for me. In doing this, I later met two people who made a profound impression on me.
Thanks to the prayer partner bracelet I received (and the extra my chaperone had given me) these are the two people I gave it away to: The first was to a nun from Sisters of Life. She was the most happiest and genuine sister I had ever come across. Her love and dedication to God was something inspiring and further inspired me to pursue Him by any means necessary. The second, was a friend I made from Australia. We met, thinking we’d just trade pins and move on, but later had two more chance encounters. I believe that God does everything for a reason and we remain friends even after World Youth Day. He is a refreshing reminder to stay passionate and open about our Catholic faith.
Coming back from World Youth Day has truly transformed me (as a pilgrimage should.) It was refreshing and beautiful to experience the love of God working through millions.
Thank you Inah Marie for opening your heart and sharing your pilgrimage with all of us. Our hope is the spirit and joy of World Youth Day lives within you and those whose spirit you touched. If you attended World Youth Day 2016 and want to share your story here please comment below!