Want to know what links in common great plagiarists, 4th of July fireworks, seismographs, and soul saving? World Youth Day Krakow 2016.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, explained this as he underscored how, as he marks his eighth World Youth Day, he believes this is one of the best.
Speaking to press in Krakow on Friday at the WYD Mercy Center for English-speaking pilgrims, organized and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, New York’s archbishop recalled how it is full of pride and hospitality.
Cardinal Dolan recalled that the day before, he was in a village outside of Krakow where there were 300 young pilgrims gathered for adoration, who had been hosted by the village.
“It was so beautiful,” he recalled, saying that when he arrived, “All 300 were eating breakfast that people of the parish had cooked for them. The pastor was so proud. The young people were so thrilled.”
“And that’s what we are seeing all over the place, these stories…” he continued.
When thinking to what he has heard or seen as far as complaints, the Cardinal noted that he has heard that the trams stop running too early.
However, he noted how his young people from New York told him how there were times when the trams were technically finished for the day but saw that they wished to take them and said, ‘Get on in. We’ll take you home.’
“So they’ve really went above and beyond their call of duty. Allejuhah! Thank you, Krakow!”
Speaking about how the young people express their concern about living in a time of terrorism, religious persecution, and violence, he applauded that despite their awareness, they seem to trust in prayer to protect them.
These concerns, he said, become “rocket launchers for prayer.” He remembered how many cried for the elderly French priest killed while celebrating Mass, despite not having known him.
“They remember JP II,” said Cardinal Dolan, “and his words: ‘Do not fear. Do not be afraid.'”
“John Paul II was a great plagiarist,” Cardinal Dolan joked, “for he was copying Jesus, who also was also a great plagiarist, for He was copying His Father.”
Not 4th of July Fireworks
Speaking about the hoped for impact of this worldwide event, he noted, “World Youth Day is not the 4th of July fireworks, in which we blow them off, and then the next day, we forget about them.”
“However,” he said, “the WYDs are about real substance and the changing of lives.”
Cardinal Dolan spoke to ZENIT about how these days’ impact will last far beyond this week. During his remarks, he explained, how many participating are second generation, whose parents may have participated. He also noted it is like a family reunion for those who may have met in Cologne or Rio.
“Some say: Remember when I met you in Rio or Madrid. You said you would pray for me and since then I have entered the seminary or I have found the person to marry me,” he said. “Amazing things.”
Someone recalled how the media has been discussing how the Holy Father had a little trip during the Mass at Częstochowa. Speaking on this, Cardinal Dolan said that carrying the heavy thurible with incense, “Who wouldn’t have tripped?”
“I almost tripped today just to be in solidarity,” he said, joking, “but if I tripped, the seismograph would go off.”
Cardinal Dolan also shared a special memory that occurred following his first catechesis in which a priest approached him after having celebrating Mass, telling the cardinal about a young woman who has been very attentive and interested during all the sessions, but then didn’t receive Communion at Mass.
“I noticed, but didn’t want to pry by asking why,” the priest shared, telling Cardinal Dolan how afterward she approached him saying: ‘You know, Father. I don’t have faith. I wasn’t looking for it, but just came here out of curiosity… Will you baptize me?”
“Now this is what makes World Youth Day worthwhile,” the Cardinal said, “to think one soul –and I think many more — is being saved.”
“So this is what happens here,” Cardinal Dolan said, stressing, “and we can’t play that down, and we shouldn’t either.”
-Written by Deborah Castellano Lubov, ZENIT Vatican correspondent on the ground in Krakow during World Youth Day 2016