The Universality of the Catholic Church and the Commission of World Youth Day

There are many reasons to go to World Youth Day. Lots of good reasons, and precious few bad ones. For me, though I had many motivations (getting to see the beauty of Poland, getting to walk and pray in Pope John Paul II's homeland) the thing I was looking forward to most was this: I wanted to see the reality of the universal Church. It's a claim that is unique to Catholicism: the idea that the Church is universal, truly everywhere in the world, and in a real, concrete, visible way. This is not the "invisible" church, as it is sometimes called. Certainly there exists such a loose community, Christians of varying creeds and beliefs, different denominations and devotions to Christ, everywhere i

I Choose the Sky - World Youth Day 2016

(The idea for the framing of this World Youth Day blog came from an entry in Emily Wilson’s scriptural devotional book for women. I read the reflection called “I Choose the Sky” the day after I returned from WYD). This was one of the first pictures I took of the pilgrimage. We had arrived in Zakopane around 2:30 AM after a long journey from the Berlin, Germany airport. I was not expecting this view as we woke up that morning. I marveled at my surroundings that day. How beautiful the sunrise was on the horizon and the gorgeous sunset at the end of the day. Why don’t I pay attention to these small things in my everyday life? It’s the same sun in Rochester, MN as it is in Zakopane, Poland. When

Vigil with Papa Francisco!

As stated in a previous post, I apologize for not having more blog posts written during World Youth Day. During our travels, we came back to our hotel no earlier than 11pm most days and were out the door by 7am, plus lack of WiFi made blogging very difficult. However, we will have some post WYD blog reflections coming your way now that we have a plethora of WiFi capabilities in the good US of A! If you are unfamiliar with World Youth Day and the schedule of events, the culmination of events with the Holy Father is the Saturday Evening Vigil and Sunday Mass. Our group hiked about 4.5 miles to our Vigil site where we would be led to our section of open field to camp out under the stars with

The Cross and Mercy - Taking WYD Home

Friday at World Youth Day is traditionally The Way of the Cross. This year's program integrated the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Examples: Jesus is condemned to death (shelter the homeless), Jesus meets his mother (comfort the afflicted), Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem ( instruct the ignorant), Jesus dies on the cross (give drink to the thirsty), and Jesus is laid in the tomb (bury the dead). It was a beautiful reflection on how to bring the message of world youth day back to our world. "Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy" (Matthew 5:7). Each station went through practical ways to live out the works of mercy. Shelter the homeless: recognize those homeless