KRAKOW, Poland, July 28, 2016 – Against a backdrop of at least two separate incidents of violence, the World Youth Day (WYD) in this city carries on with young people sharing their prayers for the Munich shooting and the more recent murder of French priest in France.
“I got sad because here [at WYD] we celebrate Christianity, love, and peace then something like this happened,” said Raz Dionisio, a pilgrim from the 44-man YouCat Philippines delegation.
According to Dionisio, who is helping promote DoCat, an app for the Catholic social teachings, WYD pilgrims can help by praying and continuously ”spreading love” to others.
”…(B)ecause it can’t be hate versus hate. So let’s just pray for non-believers and hopefully they’ll think of cancelling their plans. Who knows there might be a miracle,” she said.
Despite expressing fears for the over-all safety of the WYD, which is expected to draw 2 million people from all over the globe, she said she believes something greater will be at work during the course of the biggest youth gathering in the world.
Dionisio added: “I believe God will protect us. We shouldn’t let ourselves get terrorized and get carried away [by fear]. Even if I’m afraid, we should continue to proclaim the faith,” she added during an interview with YouthPinoy after a catechesis at the Tauron Arena Krakow, which hosted close to 15,000 pilgrims for a talk by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as well as testimonials by Catholic speakers Chris Stefanick, Annie and Scott Powell, Jason Evert.
Julia Lambers, a WYD delegate from Cologne, Germany, echoed this same sentiment, saying that aside from gathering as young people to pray, the WYD is a statement.
“I’m a little bit scared, I know that there’s a reason that this could happen too [in WYD] because there is so many people and less security, but I choose to be here because, we have to make a statement,” she explained.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwis during the Opening Mass on July 26 at B?onia Park asked the faithful to pray for the victims of terrorist attacks and for 85-year-old Hamel from France who was brutally killed while celebrating a morning Mass.
“Together let’s pray specially for the priest who was killed today in France during [a] Mass,” requested the Archbishop of Krakow.
“I’m still very sad for the victims and I think it’s quite hard because some people use religion for killing people, killing each other. I’m quite worried about this kind of attacks because it’s happening everywhere,” said Jerome Chaudier, a WYD pilgrim from Marseilles, France who got to speak to YouthPinoy a few days after the Munich shooting involving 18-year old Ali David Sonboly who killed nine people.
The WYD is ongoing in this city from July 26 to 31. (Chrixy Paguirigan / CBCPNews)