The education center “Good News 200” in Piekary, Krakow became the place for the Vincentian Youth Gathering which began on July 23. This gathering involved all the young men and women who are members of the Vincentian Family and who traveled to Poland in order to participate in World Youth Day. The Vincentian Family has existed in Poland since 1850 and the original house of its foundation in this country has been preserved.
The organizing committee welcomed all the delegations from the various branches of the Vincentian Family who came from all different parts of the world. Language proved to be no barrier to communication and very quickly the participants began to feel “at home.” Some had difficulties entering the country but even that reality did not discourage the young men and women. After the exchange so many messages by email and the internet, it was wonderful to be able to meet all these individuals and share in their stories.
The opening began with a presentation of the manner in which the faith came to this country and also a presentation on the arrival of the first Vincentian Missionaries and Daughters of Charity. The Visitor and the Visitatrix of the Province of the Poland extended words of welcome, as well as the Superior General of the Daughters of Charity, Sister Kathleen Appler, DC, the Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission and Director General of the VMY, Fr. Tomaž Mavrič, CM. Father Tomaž exhorted the participants to be fearless in following their vocation and to be open to the grace of God and the gift of charity. He went on to state that people can respond to God’s call if they listen, if they support one another, and if they can tell the Lord: “I want to follow you Lord; I want to say “yes” to you, for you and through you.” After a wonderful meal there was a festival that was organized by the participants from Asia and Oceania.
The following day, after breakfast, there was a time of formation which developed the theme: Vincentians, faithful to charity. The various presenters utilized different methodologies, but all of them wanted to encourage the participants to the practice of greater charity. This was followed by working together in language groups in order to further internalize the theme. The afternoon began with the praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, followed by some witness talks. Father Tomaž presided at the Eucharist and invited the young men and women to seek for that precious pearl and that priceless treasure which is Jesus, our brother and our savior … it is not enough to simply speak about Jesus but rather we need to experience that hunger and thirst which leads to interior peace and sends us forth to engage in the mission. After dinner we gathered together in a wonderful celebration that was organized by our host delegation, the young people from Poland.
During the following day it was noticeable that the environment of fraternity and cordiality was becoming more intense. In the morning there was another presentation and also an opportunity to share our experiences in the apostolate. In the afternoon, after prayer the Divine Mercy Chaplet, several individuals shared and explained the manner in which mercy had changed their life. Today, the Eucharist was presided by the local Bishop and the homily was given by the Subdirector General of the VMY who invited the participants to pray the Lord’s prayer in a meaningful manner and not in some mechanical manner. He also suggested that before going to sleep at night we might ask the question: how did I practice charity during the past 24 hours? If things had gone well, then the following day attempt to be even better; if things had not gone well then look for ways to make things better. At the conclusion of the Eucharist a group picture was taken of all the participants. In the evening we celebrated together in a festival that had been prepared by groups from America, Europe and Africa.
The following morning each one set out for the various places where they would participate in the World Youth Event.
Author: Fr. Irving Amaro, CM, Subdirector General of the VMY
Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM
Source: International Office of the VMY