Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

World Youth Day inspires participants to ‘leave a mark’

Pilgrims from the Diocese of Charleston returned from World Youth Day with an altered per­spective on the meaning of the Year of Mercy, along with a life­time of memories, and moments that impacted their lives.

For some, it was the vigil and closing Mass with Pope Francis and millions of other Catholics; for others it was the time spent absorbing the history of Poland itself.

From left, Darby Molony, Bailey Hoover, Lydia Novak and Olga Pierce, from the diocese, prepare for the opening Mass July 26.

From left, Darby Molony, Bailey Hoover, Lydia Novak and Olga Pierce, from the diocese, prepare for the opening Mass July 26.

From the reverent celebration of Mass in famous basilicas, to a reminder during a visit to Aus­chwitz of why the world needs God’s mercy, the abiding lesson was the power and breadth of the faith.

Kathy Schmugge, director of the Office of Family Life, spoke of the incredible impact being in Poland during the Year of Mercy had on the pilgrims.

“It was in this country that the great messengers of mercy, St. Faus­tina, Pope St. John Paul II, St. Maxi­millian Kolbe, St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, and Blessed Jerzy Pop­ielusko would call home,” she said. The group visited many of the places these legends walked, and some stood at the exact spot where St. Maximillian offered his life in exchange for a Jewish man’s life during the Holocaust.

Schmugge, whose roots origi­nate in Poland, has a heartfelt connection. “When we arrived on Polish soil, I wanted to kiss it as I had seen Pope John Paul II do so many times,” she said, adding that their time there was “a testimony of a culture tested time and again that would not give up its beloved Catholic faith.”

Rhett Williams, a diocesan semi­narian, said the visit to Poland and participation in WYD provided a les­son in the power of Catholic identity and its place in society, noting that they encountered over 1.5 million points of encouragement — the estimated number of attendees.

“Almost without fail, every young person I spoke to at WYD said they were most impacted by the sheer multitude of young people of the same age, with the same passion and drive as them for the Catholic faith. Each person commented on how seeing that revitalized their desire to live the faith, knowing that there were youth in 187 other countries striving to do the same,” Williams said.

Provided: From left, Grace Paige, Sue Crance (youth minister), Alex Freeman, Ellie Hinton, Patrick Robeson, Leslie Mc­Gowan and Barrett Long, from St. Theresa the Little Flower Church in Summerville, camped out to get a front-row view of Pope Francis at the Papal Welcome at World Youth Day on July 28.

Provided: From left, Grace Paige, Sue Crance (youth minister), Alex Freeman, Ellie Hinton, Patrick Robeson, Leslie Mc­Gowan and Barrett Long, from St. Theresa the Little Flower Church in Summerville, camped out to get a front-row view of Pope Francis at the Papal Welcome at World Youth Day on July 28.

Kayleigh Judge, from St. Francis by the Sea Church in Hilton Head, echoed that sentiment, noting that she did not realize how many Catholics there were in the world until she attended the WYD vigil.

That day, for many, was the highlight of the pilgrimage as they were surrounded by millions of voices raised in exuberance, yelling “Papa! Papa!” as Pope Francis rode by, waving to the crowd, at the welcome ceremony for World Youth Day.

Anastasia Pierce, from St. Mary Help of Christians Church in Aiken, said it was the most impactful moment of the trip for her. “You could feel this supernatural joy that I’d never felt before … you could tell he truly, genu­inely loved you,” she said.

During the vigil celebra­tion, Pope Francis told the crowd that life is like a soccer match, because it “only takes players on the first string and has no room for benchwarmers. Today’s world demands that you be a protagonist of history, because life is always beau­tiful when we choose to live it fully, when we choose to leave a mark.”

Several of the adult leaders said that is a lesson everyone needs to bring home with them.

 

Featured photo provided: From left, seminarians Patrick Judd and Rhett Williams stand with Rachel Neubauer, diocesan associate director of Young Adult Min­istry, and Anna Marie Corder during the opening Mass July 26.

WYD-page-footer-2016

Save






  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Nov 18 Vietnamese Martyrs Celebration
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Dec 1 Black Catholics Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Dec 15 Simbang Gabi for Filipino Catholics
    From the Calendar of Filipino Ministry
    Dec 25 Diocesan Television Christmas Special Fox 21
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Jan 412:00 am Class 2019 Ordination Retreat
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Jan 812:00 am Retiro Espiritual de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jan 1210:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Feb 911:00 am Ordination of Permanent Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate