World Youth Day - Bishop Smith arrives to join young pilgrims
Late Wednesday night we arrived to an heart warming welcome in Płock and our host families. Some of our pilgrims reported the next morning being given a packed lunch fit for a King and a hug like only their mothers could give, as they set off on a wonderful tour of Płock city, whose history is caught up in the meandering Vistula River flowing past.
After a little road train tour of the city, we stopped for morning prayer near the river. As we looked out we prayed together the prayer of today "The Divine Praises... Blessed be God..", recalling God's goodness and holiness. During a wonderful cruise on the Visutla, some of the visitors were treated to Irish singing and dancing, something that was to be repeated through out the day.
Afterwards, we walked the short distance to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy, the convent where St Faustina received the apparitions of Jesus, King of Divine Mercy back in 1931. Sr Veronica, a religious sister from the same order as Faustina, spoke on the revelations of The Divine Mercy and what it means for people today, telling us to "trust in Jesus, trust in his love and mercy for us".
A beautiful Polish lunch in the diocesan youth centre, shared with pilgrims from Armenia, France and Belarus, renewed the energies so we could tackle the wonderful diocesan museum detailing nearly a 1000 years of the Cathedral history, with some magnificent artworks and church vessels. The view from the top of the museum over the town and river was breathtaking.
Just before Fr Kevin celebrated Mass in the cathedral, Bishop Michael arrived from Ireland along with Fr Robert with a wonderful welcome. Fr Kevin spoke on today's gospel and how only by spending time in Jesus' company in prayer can we truly understand and live his message for us and others.
Evening prayer in St Bartolmew's Church had a invitingly Taize theme as young pilgrims from all around came to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Following evening prayer, one of our pilgrims, Fiona McCabe celebrated her birthday with a beautiful cake and "Happy Birthday" for her.
Late in the evening, an Italian youth group asked our Irish pilgrims to join with them in a flashmob to spell the word 'Love' with hands, feet and different poses! Workout today....#Done!!!
Our wonderful days continue tomorrow in Warsaw.
(Fr Kevin Heery)