Montrosians Tell of their Journey to Krakow Poland for World Youth Day ’16


Isabelle Heron '19, Contributing Writer

This summer, a handful of Montrosians joined three million Catholics who traveled to 2016 World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. The July 25-31 event celebrated the 12th World Youth Day. Therese Schickel ‘18 captured the moment: “The event made me more proud of my faith.” This year is called the Year of Mercy, and the 2016 Scripture passage for the event was: “Blessed the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Mt 5:10). The students that traveled lived by that quote every minute of their trip.

Therese Schickel ‘18, Maggie MacIsaac ‘18, and Sophia Sardegna ‘18 traveled together to Poland to participate during World Youth Day. Therese said:“I wanted to challenge myself to become interconnected with others around the world.” Maggie added:“There are so many youth that just don’t practice their faith anymore because it’s not a first priority. I wanted to be an example for them.” Sophia explained  that she had recently been baptized and wanted to participate in the event that is interwoven with Pope St. John Paul II.

The night vigil is one of the most sacred and special events of World Youth Day. Sophia explained:“In my opinion, the vigil was the most important to me. It’s striking how many people were there for all the same reason.” When it became dark, everyone was given a lighted candle to celebrate Adoration.The peaceful silence of millions of prayers filled the field in which the event was held. The songs were upbeat and joyful, putting smiles on everyone’s faces. There were also sacrifices. “Before and after walking to the field the day was held in, we had to walk eight miles to our hotel,” the three laughed as they remembered how tired they all were. Therese, Maggie, and Sophia chose to make the eight mile journey a sacrifice instead of complaining. Therese explained that “it made the trips more memorable knowing we were making it a sacrifice.”

The three and their group explored Poland north to south. They ventured to towns and significant tourist destinations. Sophia commented, “we thought that viewing the development of Poland’s history and its different cultures and styles of religion practice were beyond exciting!”Schickel noted: “It was funny because in every single town, there was at least one church.”

Therese, Maggie and Sophia also traveled to the salt mines of Poland. The salt mines are located 443 ft underground and were built in the 13th century. Eventually, a chapel was built into the mines where the workers would have daily mass and even celebrate weddings.

St. Pope John Paul II first instituted World Youth Day in 1984, the Holy Year of Redemption. He saw World Youth Day as a symbol of the love from Christ for humanity because it had become a gathering of all youth around the world celebrating their special relationship with Christ. In 1985, the first year of Youth Day, 300,000 young people responded to the invite Jubilee of Psalm Sunday in Rome. From there, World Youth Day has only grown more popular ever since. You can learn more about World Youth Day,  its history, locations and next venue here.

“We recommend this event to all that want to go. There are so many personal reasons to go. But it is also a motivator to try new things with your friends,” Therese encouraged. As Pope Francis advised the youth:”You too… can be joyful witnesses of his love, courageous witnesses of his Gospel, carrying to this world a ray of light  They told me that communicating with others was patriotic because we spoke the same language in faith and religion.” World Youth Day 2016 in Kraków, Poland was a great success, and no doubt the Montrosians who went are spreading that light throughout the school.. The next will be in Panama in 2019. I know I am going. Hope to see you there!