American delegation visits Krakow in preparation for World Youth Day 2016
“In the midst of the preparations for World Youth Day, this September, the Holy Father will be visiting the United States… We hope that, in some way, our farewell to the Holy Father when he leaves us in September will just be an “arrivederci,” which would mean: ‘See you again in Krakow,’ as our young people will be the first who will see him a second time. This is very exciting for us.” This was said during a visit to Krakow by a member of the United States delegation for World Youth Day.
Among the groups preparing for World Youth Day are 30,000 Americans who will visit Poland and add to the overall number of participants at the great events that will be held in July 2016 in Krakow.
There are many projects and plans in the works, said members of the delegation for World Youth Day from the U.S., who visited the WYD Committee on March 30, 2015, at their offices at 18 Kanonicza Street. “We are currently developing a variety of resources for our pilgrims: We will have a pilgrim journal, several leaders’ guides, and a retreat manual. We also encourage people who cannot go to Poland because of finances, time, or documentation to celebrate it locally,” said Paul Jarzembowski, the representative for Youth and Young Adult Ministries (at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). “We are encouraging the planning of initiatives in the United States dedicated to the person of St. John Paul II and Polish culture. We are also working on identifying special points of pilgrimage across the U.S. associated with St. John Paul II, Polish culture, our patron saints, and youth and young adult ministry,” he added. “And as part of the preparations in our country, it is very important for us to provide as much information as possible about the event, primarily through the digital media, social networks, and websites,” Paul shared.
Involvement in World Youth Day in the United States is huge, as evidenced by initiatives of many local communities, retreats, and prayer meetings. There are also many projects being planned to help young people who are intending to travel to Krakow raise funds for their trip.
“We are hearing a lot of positive feedback from the local communities who cannot wait to come to World Youth Day here. Americans really love St. John Paul II and they really love Pope Francis – so we are very excited to combine these two loves. Many people are looking forward to coming to Poland to honor the Holy Father of their youth and to get inspired by the new Pope of today,” said a member of the delegation.
It has also been quite a challenge for the delegation to translate the World Youth Day hymn from Polish into English. “One of the biggest dilemmas for us is the number of syllables in Polish ... Błogosławieni is much longer than blessed. I think that, in the end, we may simply repeat the phrase: ‘Blessed are the merciful, blessed are the merciful,’” conveyed Paul. Several volunteers have already made possible English translations which are all quite different. “One of our Polish-American volunteers translated the text literally. While it's impossible to sing it as is, we are working to compare other versions to the literal translation to complete work on the song,” he added.
During their recent visit to Krakow, the representatives of the U.S. delegation assured us that they are committed to passing on the spirituality and history of the places in Krakow, especially those connected with the person of St. John Paul II and a deeper understanding of the city’s spiritual dimension. “(On this trip) we have already encountered several Polish saints, and of course, St. John Paul II, so it has been good to get to experience these places associated with the late Holy Father’s life in Krakow. We also think it will be important for our young people to know the history and spiritual life of Poland. For example, discovering what is important on Wawel Hill, in the Castle and the Cathedral, around the city, and so forth,” said Paul Jarzembowski.
Pictured: Cardinal Stanislaus Dziwisz, Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow, with Paul Jarzembowski, Assistant Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
For more details about the United States’ involvement in World Youth Day and the resources/plans that are underway, go to www.wydusa.org, the official World Youth Day USA page, developed by the Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Written by Monika Jaracz
Translation into English by USCCB Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth