RIO SHINES WITH A RAINBOW
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The word of the editor-in-chief
'Christ needs you, so that the Gospel of salvation would get to every part of the world'. These words were said by blessed John Paul II to the youth of the world, gathered at Jasna Góra in 1991, during VI World Youth Days. Christ needs you. This is an unusual invitation. Are you aware of the fact that you are very important for Christ, who is with you, who is your friend, who loves you very much - to such an extent that he gave his life for you?
Christ also said: 'God's kingdom is among you' (Lu 17.21), that is, it is in you, in me, is developing and is bearing fruits and thanks to it, Christ becomes greater in us, and we are also developing according to the growth of Christ. How beautiful and magnificent task it is, which is given to us by Christ, especially to young people. There is no risk here, but there is a victory, joy, fulfilled hope and greatness of the man. You cannot go away from this greatness.
The World Youth Days are an occasion to recall the great invitation for building oneself with Christ, for a spiritual effort, work on oneself.
'Be demanding towards the world surrounding you, but, first of all, demand from yourselves - emphasized blessed John Paul II. He said:- You are God's sons; be proud of it'. Nothing more, nothing less.
Therefore, let's be happy with the World Youth Meetings, especially the one in the far-away Brazil today, in Rio, but also those meetings which take place every year in particular countries of the world. This is a big colourful rainbow, joining the youth of the world with Christ, who loves each of you with merciful love.
TAMING OF FAITH
I managed to contact Agnieszka and Ania by phone, while they were at the airport in Kraków-Balice on the way to Rio de Janeiro. I asked them what they were expecting after the meeting in Brazil, which was the World Youth Day in their life and how such global meetings with the successor of St. Peter influenced their everyday life.
You want to come back
Agnieszka Górnik, a teacher of science by profession, does not conceal that one of the motifs of the journey is the new pope and desire to meet him. These are a kind of retreats. She admits that she is interested also in the exploring aspect of the country, that is, an tourist element. Therefore, she is leaving earlier in order to have time for sightseeing and getting to know Brazil. Agnieszka did not have any possibility to get prepared spiritually for the journey. - Now, on the plane, I am going to read the Message to the youth on the World Youth Day in Rio, written by Benedict XVI - she says.
Agnieszka admits: - I am going for the sixth time, and Rome was very special for me, because it was the first time I had participated in the World Youth Day, and secondly, it was with the Polish Pope, and, finally, because it was the Jubilee Year. I also remember very well Australia and Sydney. And now, it will surely be similar, because it is the first time the World Youth Day will have been with pope Francis and I am very curious.
Anna Szkudlarek, a PE teacher, cooperates with the Papal University of John Paul II in Kraków, where she runs classes of leisure time culture, the World Youth Day is her hobby and she is also engaged in the research on the global participation of the youth in religious tourism in the aspect of journeys for the World Youth Day meetings.
Ania says: - This is my 8th journey; I started with Częstochowa, later was Paris, I have not been to Denver and Manilia, but it resulted from misinformation, not from the lack of these needs. If I can say colloquially, I admit that the World Youth Days make you an addict. Spiritual accumulators are charged there, one enriches oneself with the words of the Pope and one prays.
Unity in Christ
Ania treats this journey as a pilgrimage; she is taking with her many intentions. - We are going to be in many sanctuaries of Mary in Brazil where I will pray for those who asked me for a prayer. I will also sacrifice difficulties of this journey and the stay there in these intentions. These are the main motivations. In my case, the tourist aspect has no more significance, although it is obvious that the very place is also fascinating.
When asked whether these international meetings change the look at the universal Church, she gives an answer that yes.
Ania recalls a central meeting with the Holy Father during the last World Youth Day. - Undoubtedly, it has an influence on my look at the Church - she answers. - Sometimes there is a man next to you, with an eye-catching plume, somewhere else someone from Africa; we are praying together to the same God. It will not be experienced in Poland and this integration and the experience of the unity in the Holy Spirit are a phenomenon difficult to describe, unique, which allows for believing more that the Church is one and belongs to Christ. The atmosphere of brotherhood, unity is striking at these meetings - she says.
Apostolate of the youth
Agnieszka and Ania admit that the World Youth Days have a great influence on them. In their everyday life they use the contents which are given to the youth by the Holy Father. - And as for Rio de Janeiro, we are going there, because Christ invites us and wants us to be His missionaries in everyday life when we come back - Ania summarizes our conversation. So, the leading motif prepares us for further life, these contents which we are going to learn there, will tell us what we should do, because we expect from the pope Francis, that he will tell us: listen, do it so and so, because I am doing so…..