Pilgrims find road to WYD by little ways of living mercy

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An elderly woman receives medical care from a volunteer of the “Little Women” during a visit to the Luwalthati ng Maynila, a home for abandoned children and the elderly, in Marikina City. (Contributed photo)

PASIG City, July 15, 2016 – For this group of Filipina pilgrims, the road to Krakow in Poland for the 31st World Youth Day (WYD) is a path marked by little ways of living mercy.

This all-female group, composed of young professionals, called itself “Little Women” from the title of a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott.

“We named and registered our pilgrim group as ‘Little Women’ inspired by the novel which was published in 1868 but addressed themes that are relevant to young women today: family, work, true love, and helping one another to achieve life’s goals.

“We were also inspired by St. Josemaria Escriva who taught a way to holiness through the care of little things for love of God,” said pilgrim group head Ami Allarde of Balanghai Study Center, a venue for the formation of students and young professionals in the Ortigas area, inspired by the spirit of Opus Dei.

According to Allarde the yuppies’ resolve to go to Krakow was solidified with the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines in January 2015.

“In June 2015, we formed “Little Women” and registered ourselves with WYD 2016,” said the group head.

Spurred on by the theme of World Youth Day 2016 with its focus on mercy the “Little Women” held its first team building session in November 2015 with the study of the Papal Bull of Indiction for the Year of Mercy “Misericordiae Vultus” and the viewing of a movie on the life St. John Paul II.

Mercy in little ways

“We were moved to carry out works of mercy in our own little ways.”

“We grouped ourselves in pairs and made regular visits to the elderly in Luwalhati ng Maynila Boy’s Town, a complex run by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“We also discovered families among our friends who, on their own initiative, taught catechism to children in poor areas and prepared them for their first Holy Communion,” recounted Allarde.

More and more friends

“We brought other friends. Then more and more friends joined us in the process.

“One yuppie, who was a teacher, encouraged her students to take part. Another, a basketball coach, invited her players.

“We are impressed by the generosity of the students and young professionals who took time from their busy schedules to visit the children and the elderly,” remarked Allarde.

Making mercy a lifestyle

“In Krakow, we plan to pray together, make a good confession and attend daily Mass. We are excited to be with Pope Francis and to celebrate the faith with other young Catholics from around the world,” Allarde disclosed.

As an immediate preparation for the trip to Poland the “Little Women” will visit the first set of Jubilee Churches in the dioceses in Metro Manila.

After the WYD, the group plans to complete the pilgrimage by visiting the rest of the Jubilee Churches in Manila and to continue the little works of mercy, thus hoping to make mercy their lifestyle. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCP News)


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