By Patti Murphy Dohn
Their bags are packed, boarding passes are printed, and all those passports are ready to be stamped as our young pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and other dioceses around our nation head to the airport.
World Youth Day 2016 in Kraków, Poland, the homeland of Pope Saint John Paul II.
Praying for our WYD pilgrims:
Let us join together each day and offer up this prayer for all those attending this year’s WYD celebration with Pope Francis.
Fashioned on the official prayer from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, this version can be used each day by the parishes and families of our pilgrims.
A World Youth Day Prayer for parents, parishes, and friends:
God our Father,
Be with our young people on their pilgrim journey of faith.
Give them the grace and courage to step forward
in faith and hope on the road ahead.
Open their eyes to see Your face in all those they encounter.
Open their ears to hear Your voice in those who are often ignored.
Open their hearts that they might be faithful disciples of mercy and truth.
Transform them. Empower them to give of themselves to the poor;
to welcome the lost; to forgive those who hurt them;
to comfort those who suffer and are marginalized.
Bless all those who travel on mission from the United States of America
to Krakow in Poland, Land of Divine Mercy,
to join the universal Church for World Youth Day.
Bless, too, those who celebrate stateside, united in faith and joy.
Like the disciples who journeyed up the mountain
to witness the Transfiguration,
May this experience be an encounter
that strengthens them for their work in the world.
Through the intercession of Mary, the Immaculate Conception,
patroness of our nation,
May they be worthy witnesses of their faith,
humble representatives of our country,
and inspired missionaries
bringing peace, hope, and mercy into our communities. Amen.
Saint James the Apostle,
patron of pilgrim travelers,
pray for them.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha,
young faithful witness from our native land,
pray for them.
Saint Therese of Lisieux,
patroness of missionaries and advocate for youth,
pray for them.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati,
man of the beatitudes and patron of young adults,
pray for them.
Saint John Paul II,
son of Poland and patron of World Youth Day,
pray for them.
Read more of my reminiscences on World Youth Day:
For more information on World Youth Day:
2. The Catholic Review will provide daily coverage about their experiences in “Pilgrims in Krakow
July 21, 2016 09:18
By Patti Murphy Dohn
"You are the future of the world, you are the hope of the Church, you are my hope.”
—The greeting of Pope John Paul II to youth during his papal inauguration Mass on October 22, 1978
In less than two weeks, hundreds of thousands of young people and youth ministers from all over the world will descend upon Kraków, Poland for World Youth Day 2016
The Archdiocese of Baltimore
will be represented among the huge crowds. A delegation of 40 young adults, led by Father Matt Buening, Catholic chaplain at Towson University, as well as seminarians Matt Himes and Tyler Kline, will be in attendance. Local teen groups from Mount de Sales Academy and St. Mary’s Church, Annapolis are traveling to Poland as well.
The homeland of Pope Saint John Paul II is the perfect location for a celebration for World Youth Day (WYD) during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. This year’s theme, which was one of three Beatitude-inspired WYD themes announced by Pope Francis in 2013
, is “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy." (Mt 5:7)
During the 1983-1984 Holy Year of the Redemption (which marked 1950 years after Jesus’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection), as well as the 1985 United Nation’s International Youth Year, Pope John Paul II invited young people to come to Rome to pray with him each year on Palm (Passion) Sunday. Though organizers initially expected about 60,000 to attend, crowds ranged from 250,000 in 1984 to 300,000 in 1985. These youth from many nations, who gathered with the Holy Father at the Vatican, affirmed their desire to be actively connected to Christ and their Catholic faith.
The next year, in December of 1985, Pope John Paul II announced the institution of local events, which he called “World Youth Days,” to be held on the diocesan level every Palm Sunday, commencing in 1986. The Holy Father would also attend international gatherings for WYD, to be held every two or three years in different countries which he would select.
“No one invented the World Youth Days. It was the young people themselves who created them. Those days, those encounters, then became something desired by young people throughout the world. Most of the time these Days were something of a surprise for priests, and even bishops, in that they surpassed all their expectations."
The first international World Youth Day was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1987. Pope John Paul II also presided over seven more before his death in 2005. They were held in the following locations:
- Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 1989;
- Częstochowa, Poland, 1991;
- Denver, Colorado, 1993;
- Manila, Philippines, 1995;
- Paris, France, 1997;
- Rome, 2000 for the Jubilee Year;
- Toronto, Canada, 2002;
Above: Then-Archbishop of Baltimore William H. Keeler took this photo in the helicopter with Pope John Paul II, who was praying his rosary when he sees the enormous crowd gathered in Cherry Creek State Park for the WYD-Denver closing Mass on Aug. 15, 1993.
He later told the youth there:
“Place your intelligence, your talents, your enthusiasm, your compassion and your fortitude at the service of life.”
(Photo by Archbishop W. H. Keeler)
To the 800,000 youth gathered at the closing vigil in Toronto in 2002, which would be the last international WYD for Pope John Paul II:
“When, back in 1985, I wanted to start the World Youth Days… I imagined a powerful moment in which the young people of the world could meet Christ, who is eternally young, and could learn from him how to be bearers of the Gospel to other young people. This evening, together with you, I praise God and give thanks to him for the gift bestowed on the Church through the World Youth Days. Millions of young people have taken part, and as a result have become better and more committed Christian witnesses.”
—Pope John Paul II, July 28, 2002, Toronto
Pope Benedict and Pope Francis continue the legacy of WYD:
Four months after the death of Pope John Paul II in April 2, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI presided over World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany (August, 2005), followed by Sydney, Australia (2008), and Madrid, Spain (2011).
Pope Benedict greets the crowds after arriving at WYD in Madrid (AP photo).
Pope Francis, who was elected in March of 2013 after the resignation of Pope Benedict, traveled to Rio de Janeiro just four months later for WYD (July, 2013). At the closing Mass at Copacabana beach, he joyfully announced that he would meet again with youth from all over the world for WYD 2016 in Kraków, Poland, the homeland of now-Saint John Paul II.
Three million people gathered on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro for the closing Mass of WYD 2013 with Pope Francis.
(Photo: AP/ Felipe Dana)
WYD 2016 in Kraków:
According to Rome Reports
, registrations for this upcoming WYD have been received from thousands of youth representing 107 countries, along with more than 10,000 priests, over 800 bishops and almost 50 cardinals. Poland, Italy, France, Spain, and the United States are the five countries with the most registrations.
As Pope Francis prepares to join our young people in Kraków, organizers are expecting as many as 2 million to attend the overnight vigil and closing Mass on July 31.
These young people who gather in Kraków next week are in for one of the most exhilarating spiritual experiences of their lifetime. Not only will they meet people from around the world, attend catechetical sessions and Mass each day, but they will have countless opportunities to open their hearts to hear God’s call to live a life of mercy as they experience His love in new and profound ways.
Let’s keep all the youth in our prayers.
God is good!
Read more of my reminisces on World Youth Day here in:
July 14, 2016 01:59
By Patti Murphy Dohn
Just nine days until Pope Francis arrives in the United States:
The excitement continues to build for this historic apostolic visit.
Part of the anticipation has sprung from the sharing of memories by those who have participated in papal visits of the past. Pope Francis is the fourth pontiff to visit our nation. His visit will mark the tenth papal visit.
1. Pope Paul VI was the first pope to visit the United States and the United Nations in 1965;
2. Pope St. John Paul II visited the U.S. seven times:
a. 1979: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington and Des Moines, Iowa;
b. 1981: Anchorage, Alaska;
c. 1984: For several hours in Fairbanks, Alaska where he met with President Reagan during a layover;
d. 1987: Miami, Columbia, South Carolina, New Orleans, San Antonio, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit;
e. 1993: Denver for World Youth Day;
f. 1995: Newark, New Jersey, New York, Baltimore;
g. 1999: St. Louis;
3. Pope Benedict XVI visited Washington, DC and New York in April of 2008.
Read more about these papal visits and the meetings with the U.S. president in my March 27, 2014 edition of:
Looking back to the historic 1995 visit of Pope St. John Paul II to Baltimore:
The 1995 visit of Pope St. John Paul II to our Premier See is among the highlights of the history of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
“The Vicar of Christ had come to us!”
"There are moments that you know have become etched in your memory forever. That's how I feel every time I look back on the 1995 visit of Pope St. John Paul II to my hometown of Baltimore.
A Religion teacher at John Carroll at that time, I was part of the committee that coordinated the service of our youth as city ambassadors and parade honor guard. After my early bird service that morning, I met up with my family at Camden Yards for the Mass.
The excitement of the crowds to see the Holy Father was palpable. I will never forget the cries of joy throughout the stadium when it was announced on the JumboTron that his TWA Shepherd One plane was landing at BWI. We all watched the live video coverage as the plane landed, followed by greetings from a welcoming entourage, and the escorted motorcade procession driving north on I-95 toward us. All eyes were on the JumboTron screen.
When the popemobile entered the stadium and drove slowly along the warning track around the perimeter of the field, there were tears of joy amid the deafening applause. Chants of "John Paul Two, we love you!" filled the air. This was far bigger than any rock concert or public gathering that I have ever seen in person or on television. The Vicar of Christ had come to us!
As the Holy Father celebrated Mass with Cardinal Keeler and the throngs of cardinals, bishops and priests, I was overcome with incredible gratitude at being able to witness our Church history in the making.
Undoubtedly, Baltimore, the premier see of Catholic faith in our nation, would never be the same. And I will cherish these memories and those precious hours that I spent in the presence of a saint for all my days.
Pope St. John Paul II, pray for us!”
~Patti Murphy Dohn has participated in two visits of Pope St. John Paul II (Philadelphia, 1979 and Baltimore, 1995), the 2008 visit of Pope Benedict XVI to NYC, and also took part in Holy Week and Easter liturgies in 2014 with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Fr. C. Doug Kenney greets the Pope John Paul II before Mass began. To the right is Msgr. James Barker, pastor of St. Ignatius Church, Hickory.
Receiving Holy Communion from a future saint:
Fr. C. Doug Kenney, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Church in Oakland, recalls the privilege of working backstage and on the sidelines at Oriole Park with Msgr. Jim Barker and Fr. Chuck Wible. They were responsible for the the sacred vessels, vestments, and other necessary supplies for the Holy Father, cardinals, and bishops. (Photo below.)
Fr. Doug chuckles now as he remembers them running short of the green vestments for Ordinary Time. They were two sets short. He shared that when they saw Cardinal John O’Connor, who had arrived in Baltimore on the plane with the Holy Father, they knew they were not going to have enough chasubles…
So when you see photographs from Baltimore's Papal Mass with Cardinal Keeler and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, then-Vatican Secretary of State, wearing white vestments, you know the back story!
Among Fr. Doug’s best memories was being able to greet the Holy Father and to receive Holy Communion from him. He will never forget that memory from the historic visit to Baltimore of Pope St. John Paul II.
His Eminence Cardinal Keeler greets the Holy Father while wearing a white chasuble
More memories from Baltimore’s 1995 papal visit:
“I was so excited to be in the company of our Pope when he was in Baltimore. I may have only been in the stadium seats, but the spiritual feeling was something I will never forget.”
~ Bernadine Beatty of St. Margaret Parish
Louise Doherty of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish shared an unforgettable moment when she and her husband Kevin also attended the Papal Mass at Camden Yards:
“During the sign of peace, we received a note from our dear friends asking us to be Godparents!”
Brief encounters that made a lasting impact:
My friend Joan Larney recalls:
“Pope Paul was the very first pope to ever visit the United States. My four daughters and I waited nearly three hours to see Pope Paul VI drive by on his way into New York City. It was only a moment, but one I've never forgotten it. This was very special.”
Deirdre Magner, a Spanish teacher at John Carroll, shared memories from the first visit of Pope St. John Paul II to New York City in 1979 when she was a graduate student there.
Not a fan of crowds, Deirdre avoided the areas of the city where the papal events were to take place. Leaving work and heading to the subway station for home, she was highly surprised to see the flashing lights of the papal motorcade with its police escort coming toward her down an empty street.
And there was the The Holy Father, in an open-air black limo, and Deirdre was the only one there on the sidewalk!
“He looked me right in the eye and gave me a blessing. I was transfixed, unable to believe what I had just witnessed. It was almost like a private audience. And it was all the more special because it was spontaneous and serendipitous. It was truly an amazing moment - one I'll never forget!”
Pope John Paul II greeted crowds in Boston (above) on Oct. 1, 1979, the first day of his six-day U.S. tour, from that same open-air black limo that Deidre Magner would encounter on the street in New York City the next evening. (Photo/ AP)
More papal memories:
Mara Pais of St. Ignatius Parish in Hickory recalls memories from 1979:
“I was a student at Trinity College in Washington, DC when Pope John Paul II visited in 1979. I was within feet of him as he drove up to the Trinity Chapel, where he conducted an ecumenical service for religious leaders. He also held a Mass on our campus for disabled children.
My friends and I didn't initially plan to attend the Mass on the Mall, but we were so overtaken by excitement after seeing the Pope up close, that we headed down to join the throngs awaiting the Papal Mass. It was raining as we exited the Metro, and a light rain continued until Pope John Paul stepped up to the altar. Not only did the rain stop, but the sun came out, and the Mass was incredibly beautiful.”
Memories of Pope Benedict XVI in Washington, DC:
Elizabeth Krempa of the John Carroll Class of 2007 recalls the excitement:
“I had the opportunity to see Pope Benedict at my college, Catholic University, in 2008. He spoke in our student center and held Mass in the National Basilica. When he spoke at our student center, I was in the front row. He and the popemobile were right in front of me!!
It was such a big deal on campus. We had snipers on our buildings, news media everywhere, boxed lunches, the whole nine yards!! What an amazing experience for all of us young people!! We kept chanting..."CUA LOVES THE POPE!!"
Photo: Elizabeth Krempa, RN
“… showing our faith to the world.”
Carla Hazard Tomaszewski of St. Mary’s County attended Mass with Pope St. John Paul II in 1979 on the Mall in Washington, DC and in 1995 in Baltimore. She also attended Mass with Pope Benedict in 2008 at the Nationals Stadium in DC.
She wrote an article on these experiences, as well as hiking as a pilgrim to Mass with Pope John II in the mountains of Nowy Targ, Poland in early 1979, for The Trumpeter, the newsletter of the Polish Heritage Association of Maryland. She so well described the feelings of Catholics who attend a Papal Mass:
“It was a wonderful experience. The feeling of togetherness and solidarity as Catholics was what made the biggest impression on me. We were all proud that we were showing our faith to the world.”
ICYMI: (In case you missed it):
Learn about the basics of Pope Francis’ historic trip to the United States here:
- The Holy Father’s complete schedule of events for the three-city whirlwind tour;
- Links and info on where you can watch these events live online and on television;
- On-demand videos to watch at your convenience after each event has ended;
- The historic significance of this papal trip;
- Links to the US Catholic Bishops papal visit website, along with catechetical resources;
- and a link to the The Baltimore Sun’s September 6 “A guide to seeing the pope in Philadelphia” from their Sunday “Life & Travel” section.
Watch for Part 3 in this series on "Countdown to the visit of Pope Francis to the United States."
September 14, 2015 01:13
By Patti Murphy Dohn