To see the manifestation of joy, love and hope of the thousands of WYD participants speaks of love for God and our Church. The young people are new seeds, seeds that germinate from their freedom and spontaneity to express their faith and their desire to live.Sister Yoli Arribasplata
Two of our sisters, Eileen McCann and Yoli Arribasplata, joined over a million people in attending World Youth Day in Portugal this August. They met with other pilgrims from all over the world and shared the joy of our charism and mission.
After returning home, both Eileen and Yoli wrote reflections about their experience as pilgrims at World Youth Day.
Sister Eileen McCann
World Youth Day 2023 has come and gone! What an adventure! Sister Yoli Arribasplata from Peru and I were able to travel to Lisbon, Portugal for this gathering of young people from all over the world with the Pope.
Yoli spent her days going to the Spanish-speaking Rise Up catechetical sessions, moving among the crowds at the City of Joy vocation fair and attending the major events. She did a lot of walking while distributing our stickers and pens and talking about the Sisters of St. Joseph. I spent my days attending the English-speaking Rise Up catechetical sessions, greeting the pilgrims at São José Church and attending the major events.
It was fitting that the closing Mass was on August 6, the feast of the Transfiguration. The disciples with Jesus on the mountain had an “aha experience,” but once they descended from the mountain, they met with the real world very quickly. This is true of the million+ young people who were in Lisbon. WYD is an “aha” moment, but once the planes land back at home, it is back to reality very quickly.
So how do we keep the “aha” experience alive in the spirits, hearts and minds of our pilgrims? That is the question before all of us, sisters and charism partners. Our suggestion is that each of us actively seek out one or two or more of those pilgrims from our parishes, colleges or high schools and engage with them on a regular basis. All of the Pope’s talks can be found on the WYD website. Read them and remind your contacts of those words often. Thanks for all you do to spread the our charism and mission!
Sister Yoli Arribasplata
My participation in World Youth Day as part of the Vocation Promotion Team has been an encountering experience that deeply impacted my being a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. It has truly been a miracle of God.
To see the manifestation of joy, love and hope of the thousands of WYD participants speaks of love for God and our Church. The young people are new seeds, seeds that germinate from their freedom and spontaneity to express their faith and their desire to live.
Every participant in WYD received Pope Francis’ message as a sign of hope, without a doubt my perception was that the Pope’s ideals of being a Church open to ALL, being merciful, treating others with dignity, promoting forgiveness, peace and joy are also yearnings, dreams and desires of young people because they connected with deep openness and joy to such calls of our Pope.
Undoubtedly, we will continue to make visible the Kingdom of God in the midst of so many social, political and religious challenges that violate the peace and stability of our humanity.
I also felt great joy and pride in speaking about our charism and spirituality to various Spanish-speaking groups and even with two groups of young people from France who welcomed our proposals with great empathy: “Go deeper. Travel further. Respond with courage. Dare to be a prophet”.
Thank you, Sister Eileen, for getting the message right! As Sisters of St. Joseph let us continue to reach out to diverse groups and places! Let us dare to go further, to respond with courage and hope!