World Youth Day in Poland – report
In July of this year, Frs Gregory Pearson and Nicholas Crowe, along with the English Dominican student brothers, led a group of around 50 young persons to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, where millions of other young people gathered from the different corners of the earth.
A gruelling start!
The trip did not have the best of starts. When we departed from St Dominic’s Priory, London, headed for Dover, we got caught in the long delays due to border problems. We were stuck on our coach for the best part of 12 hours on the motorway over night. Fortunately, as we knew we had a long journey ahead even without the delays, we had packed some provisions. Nonetheless it took us around 40 hours approximately to reach Poland!
We spent a few days in the mountain area of Korbielow, and from there to Wadowice, the birth town and home of St John Paul II, which was our base during the World Youth Day celebrations. On most days we travelled by train into Krakow, and were free to explore all the different activities and events on offer by the organisers. It was also a great opportunity for us to spend time at the Dominican priory in Krakow. Some of the student brothers of that priory are well-known to the English brothers as they spent a year in Oxford.
I think it is fair to say there were not (m)any luxuries on the pilgrimage and a great deal of hardships at times, but there was a great atmosphere of solidarity with one another, with fruitful conversations, and the seeds of new friendships being sown.
Our next big event for young people is the Prayer Vigil on the evening after the launch of the Rosary Shrine.