Written by Kiara Smyth and St. Dominic Savio World Youth Day Group
Excited. Nervous. Hopeful. Energized. Overwhelmed.
These are some of the words my group and I used to explain how we are feeling as we sit on our first airplane heading to World Youth Day in Krakow. Two of us have been to WYD before, eleven of us have not, but for all of our emotions are running high. In the words of some of my group members, here's a little bit of where these emotions are coming from:
The Highs - Excited, Hopeful, Overwhelmed
- This will be my first ever WYD, so I'm excited for this new experience. I've never been to an international event like this before or to an event with so many Catholics, so this will be really cool.
- I've been to the past two World Youth Days, and both of them were amazing, but also very different, so I'm excited to see what this one has in store. The energy at the past two WYDs was incredible, so I'm already getting energized just thinking about it!
- I can't wait to listen to Pope Francis. He's a very inspirational man, and gives me hope for the future of the church and the world.
- I'm looking forward to experiencing the sense of community and hanging out with young Catholics from around the world. At the last WYD in Rio, I met a lot of great people, and I'm sure that will happen again!
- I'm looking forward to strengthening my relationship with Jesus through encountering him at mass and through WYD events.
- I can't wait to celebrate my faith with everyone at WYD!
The Lows - Nervous, Overwhelmed
- I'm worried about getting lost among all the people at WYD and in a new city!
- I'm feeling a little overwhelmed because I've never been to a WYD before so I don't really know what to expect. It seems like there is going to be so much going on, which is sweet, but also overwhelming.
- I've been to WYD before, and there are definitely challenges that come with the pilgramage, from getting around the city, to dealing with the crowds, to coping with the weather, to navigating group dynamics.
Why the Lows don't bring us down
- We have such a great group! A lot of us are cousins which is awesome, but also for the past three years, as a whole group we've grown really close and sincerely enjoy hanging out together. While we know we will get on each other's nerves at times, the fact that we have spent a lot of time together and formed strong friendships will get us through our challenges!
- I'm trying to always remember the ultimate reason why I'm going on this pilgrimage: to strengthen my faith and spend time with God. No matter what we face, I know that God is here beside us, guiding us and bringing us through.
- What I've learned from the past WYDs is that it's never what I expect it to be, but its always what I need it to be; God always come through for me!
As our flight prepares to land, we will see what God has in store for us this WYD!
Kiara Smyth is from Edmonton, Alberta leading the St. Dominic Savio World Youth Day group to Poland for Krakow 2016. Stay tuned to follow their journey from Edmonton to Krakow!