Kraków in the Capital
One indicator of the vitality of a parish church is the presence of young people who are active in the worship life of the community and in parish activities. As our Archdiocesan Synod identified, this indicator is of particular importance in the Church of Washington because of the presence of so many young people studying at the universities within the District of Columbia and the five counties that make up the archdiocese, and because of the large number of young adults that come to work on Capitol Hill and at the organizations and institutions that have national offices in the metropolitan area.
Our outreach to young adults – from the presence of robust campus ministry programs to the presence of local young adult ministry groups in every part of the archdiocese – points to the yearning of our young people to be actively engaged in the life of the Church. In my meetings with our young adults, I find them alive with love for our Lord and for the Church. They are willing to boldly witness to the difference that the grace of the sacraments makes in their lives and the importance of sharing one’s faith. In so many ways, their presence in our parishes and their desire to be part of the life of the Church is a sign of the renewing energy of the Holy Spirit always at work.
All of this will be on display at the end of this month as Pope Francis joins young people from around the world to encounter Jesus Christ in Kraków, Poland, for World Youth Day 2016. The archdiocese has a group of pilgrims going to Kraków, including members of our digital media team, but all of us will be able to experience the excitement of these days through our social media outreach. For those young adults who cannot make the trip to Kraków, I invite you to sign up now and join me at our special event, Kraków in the Capital, on July 30 at The Catholic University of America. It will be a festival of faith for young adult Catholics.
Kraków in the Capital will help to transport young people virtually to Kraków through a diversity of experiences mirroring the transformative experiences of World Youth Day. In a spirit of communion with those pilgrims to the land of Saint John Paul II, this local event will include prayer, inspirational and cathectical talks, and a live-feed to share in the festivities in Poland. Our local pilgrims will also enjoy Polish food, music and dancing which both culturally and spiritually celebrates the universal character of our Church.
Drawing on that universality, Kraków in the Capital will have a full Spanish-language component with both catechetical talks in Spanish and bi-lingual prayer experiences. Additionally, the whole program will be interpreted in American Sign Language and there will be a track for young adults with developmental disabilities. In this, our young people are modeling what should be a way of life in all of our parishes.
Please share this news with young adults who are part of your life. Join us too in prayer that this experience will bring all of our young people to a deeper realization of God’s unwavering love for them and that in relationship with God they will come to know themselves more fully and know God’s plan for their lives. You can share your prayer intention or extend an invitation on social media using #wydDC.
At 2014 World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis said to the young pilgrims gathered, “Jesus Christ is counting on you! The Church is counting on you!” To that I add: Young people of the Archdiocese of Washington, Jesus and his Church are counting on you too to bring the love of the Lord to your peers, to your family, to your places of work and to all the places where you and other young people gather. Be bold in your love for Jesus and your love for the Church and you will help to renew a life, a neighborhood and the whole community.