Soeurs de Saint-Joseph de Cluny
http://sj-cluny.org/WYD-Reflections-from-Haiti-and-North-East-India-and-Nepal
      WYD Reflections from Haiti and North East India and Nepal

WYD Reflections from Haiti and North East India and Nepal

“We thank the Lord who allowed us to participate in WYD in Panama. This experience has strengthened our faith.” (Srs Marie Bernadette VERCELA et Claudine SAINT-HILAIRE, Haiti)

« I was amazed to see millions of young people searching for true meaning and the purpose of their lives in the person of Jesus Christ.” (Sr Magdeline Singh, North East India / Nepal)


XXXVI World Youth Day was held in Panama City - Central America during the Month of January 2019. The theme “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” highlighted the thrust of the whole event throwing light on Mary’s response to God’s call to a salvific mission and at the same time inviting young people to pause and include a discernment of a religious vocation in their lives.

Sisters Marie-Bernadette Vercela and Claudine Saint-Hilaire, Province of Haiti

We thank the Lord for the opportunity to participate in WYD in Panama. This experience has strengthened our faith.

We were a group of 190: 17 priests, 8 religious sisters and 165 young people, ranging from 18 to 28 years old. When we arrived, we had a warm and moving welcome: fireworks, music, choir. It certainly made up for the fatigue of the day.

Following are some highlights of the week:
• the Eucharistic celebration in several languages with the participation of several countries,
• the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament,
• Lauds,
• the official opening of the WYD by the Archbishop of Panama,
• the reception of Pope Francis,
• the vigil of Marian prayer,
• the closing mass.

Other activities filled our days, such as visiting the sick and the elderly, planting trees, cultural evening.

Our differences in nationality did not prevent us from being united and forming one body in Christ.

Monday, January 21 we took the road to Villa Lucre very early where we were housed with Panamanian families.

The catechesis was centered on the theme "I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38)." In their talks, the bishops exhorted us to always remain in service, (with our aprons on) serving God and our brothers and sisters, like Mary. Appropriately, we sang a song united with one heart: "Like Him, know how to set the table".

We have lived WYD in faith. When we proclaim in the Creed that the Church is One, Catholic and Apostolic, it truly unites us in one Faith despite our differences in language, culture, and mentality. The host families crossed the barriers of fear, mistrust, indifference, to receive us with cordiality, all because our common faith united us. It allowed us to experience the universality of our Church.

Thank you to our Province and the National Committee of the Youth Ministry of Haiti who have offered us the opportunity to live this extraordinary event of the Church.

Sister Magdeline Singh, Province of North East India and Nepal

Sister Magdeline Singh, SJC, from the province of North East India and Nepal, had the privilege to take part in WYD together with 56 pilgrims from India under the wings of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM). The whole event was divided into two phases:

  • Days in the Diocese of Santiago Atalaya : All the Indian Pilgrims had the honor to be with the faithful people of the Dioceses of Santiogo - Atalaya . Various exposure programmes, spiritual exercises, pilgrimages, cultural exchanges, and social gatherings were organized to enrich and strengthen the bond of Christian faith.
  • World Youth Day: WYD events became a universal platform for all young people of the globe to celebrate their lives in the person of Jesus Christ. The highlighted main events of WYD were:
    • official address of Pope Francis to gathered pilgrims
    • well-staged Way of the Cross
    • testimonials Night Vigil and
    • hopeful Closing ceremony Mass.

During the Closing ceremony Pope Francis officially announced that the next World Youth day will be in Portugal 2022.

Sister Magdeline’s personal experience as a WYD pilgrim: She states “My whole journey as a ‘youth animator’ delegate as well as a pilgrim for World Youth Day 2019 was one of professing and witnessing faith in Christ along with the company of young people. I was amazed to see millions of young people searching for true meaning and the purpose of their lives in the person of Jesus Christ. I was astonished to witness their:

  • love for prayers,
  • openness to change,
  • desire for the sacrament of Reconciliation … and above all
  • their sense to celebrate their lives every day.

So I know the Church will remain ever young because I could witness the vibrant and enthusiastic faith among the young population of the present Church. There are many young people who are like the ‘rich young man’ of the Gospel (LK 18:18-30) who have everything except Jesus. So as an animator of the youth I have a deeper feeling that a joyful and meaningful life lived in Christ and shared with young people will certainly add up to more focused meaning in their lives. This, in return, will turn out to be the solid foundation for their Christian Faith and a meaningful life well lived in society.”

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