WYD Pilgrims speak about their impressions after the Opening Ceremony.
“I really liked the Opening Ceremony. It was a very pleasant surprise, as while most was in Polish, it was very easy to understand what is happening in a given moment. It is beautiful to experience the universal Church and that although we are different and from various countries, we have one God, who died for us. I was most pleased with the moment when everyone worshipped and sang the hymn, “Jesus Christ you are my life,” a true classic of WYD, with such joy and happiness,” said Stephanie Santos from Australia. “Participation in the Holy Mass in such a crowd was for me an experience. In Australia I live in a small coastal town, where we don’t have too large of a Catholic community, so it was for me very important to see that the Church lives, is so young and full of energy.”
“It was necessary to dedicate the whole day, but it was worth it! I would repeat this journey even now. The rain also doesn’t discourage us. Even snow could fall! The atmosphere in this moment is wonderful. I have the hope for change, for a breakthrough of faith in Christ. And I also wish that everything I experience here I can take and share with people in my country,” says Yvonne Sinisa in Sydney.
“I am moved and impressed. I hesitated about whether I should even come, but after today's ceremony I am convinced that it was well-worth coming for,” says Anna Juszczak from Kasinki Malej. “I will also be attending in the following days, including the vigil in Campus Misericordiae. The crowd, flags and the singing hymns, but above all the Eucharist left a hefty impression on me.”
“The events that occur here are incredible, what an immense magnitude! An innumerable number of different languages! Something unbelievable and this is only the second day. So much awaits us! And even more unusual is the fact that we are all together here for the same reason. That is God.”
“In the past, I participated in the Days of Dioceses; I spent a tremendous deal of time with people for whom faith is something unconditionally natural. I like that in your country, because there are a limited number of countries in the world where you can still see that. Ninety percent of your people are Catholics!” said Alex Wolf from Puerto Varas in Chile, enraptured with passion.
“Holy Mass gave me an extensive opportunity to meet young people from different countries, and different continents, who were feeling banded together with the presence of God. I would love to meet Pope Francis, but also strengthen my faith,” mentions Olya Korabliova from Ukraine.
“Before I enter into adulthood, I want to have a fire within me that would not fade away. Something that I could convey to others. Something that therefore remains eternally strong. I want to do this now, before I start college. Because life in college may be a secularized environment that can destroy faith in man. I hope that this WYD will be a sufficient fire that will ultimately continue burning though my entire life,” proclaims Omar Espinosa a local from Yorkville, USA.
“Actually, I was not supposed to be here, that is I did not plan it. But I talked about it with God in prayer, when I was on vacation. I received a called from my parish priest and he said, "You know what... I think you should go." In that moment I decided to go. So far I really like the experience and not even for a moment do I regret it, but the opposite!” confides Daniel Kaczmarek from Chicago.
“I am here because I want to live my faith in joy. I am not expect anything specific. For me it is not hard to be a young Christian in my country, because I belong to a Salesian Youth Community and together we are not afraid, we have a lot of courage and joy. Remember that humanity is not alone and this will allow us to live our faith without fear,” says Emmanuelle Kamand from France.
“At the Holy Mass I honestly enjoyed the homily of Cardinal Dziwisz, everything he was saying connected internally to me. I was fascinated by the fact that countless people gathered in one place at one time from around the world. I look forward to what the Pope will say to all these young people. Maybe he will have a special message for us all?” conveys Nicolas Ferrada Rojas from Chile.
Karolina Zawiślak, Martyna Kozakiewicz, Andżelika Golicz
Photo: Weronika Piórek, Tytus Stachowiak