This will be the last issue of the Prairie Messenger before our staff takes a summer break. The next issue will be dated Aug. 24.
We wish our readers a relaxing and renewing summer vacation.
However, there are many events that continue to be of interest. The summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro is one of them. For the politically minded, the presidential campaign in the U.S. will be of interest — and controversial. More importantly, World Youth Day (WYD) is getting ready to kick off as this issue goes to press.
The 31st WYD will be held in Krakow, Poland July 25 - 31. It will attract up to an estimated two million young people from around the world. In a video message for the young people gathered in Krakow, Pope Francis said, “My entire visit will be inspired by mercy during this Jubilee Year, and by the grateful and blessed memory of Saint John Paul II, who instituted the World Youth Days and was the guide of the Polish people in its recent historic journey toward freedom.” The theme of this WYD is “Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy.” Krakow is known in the world as the capital of Divine Mercy.
The 2016 WYD celebration will mark the 30th anniversary of when St. John Paul II, the former archbishop of Krakow, invited bishops all over the world to hold an annual event for young people in their dioceses. Providentially, the first international gathering was in 1987 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Pope Francis was born and ministered before becoming pope.
On July 28 the pope will make a pilgrimage to the famous shrine of Czestochowa and visit the Monastery of Jasna Gora and pray at the Chapel of the Black Madonna.
The next day he will visit the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau where more than one million people, including St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and St. Maximilian Kolbe, died. The pope will also meet with 10 Holocaust survivors and will visit St. Maximilian Kolbe’s cell. The pope’s visit coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Polish saint’s death sentence.
Saturday will feature an evening prayer vigil with the youth in Campus Misericordiae. The young people will walk 15 kilometres from Krakow to this site. On Sunday the pope will preside at the Sunday WYD mass here before departing back to Rome.
Some of us will get renewed by taking a break this summer. Others will be renewed by an experience of a prayer pilgrimage. Best wishes to all our readers on their summer break.