Fr Jude David speaking to World Youth Day pilgrims during the first spiritual preparation session on March 12.Fr Jude David speaking to World Youth Day pilgrims during the first spiritual preparation session on March 12.

The Office for Young People (OYP) held its first spiritual preparation session on March 12 for those intending to go to World Youth Day (WYD) in Krakow, Poland, later this year.

OYP will be bringing an archdiocesan contingent of about 170 pilgrims to the Church-organised international event to be held from July 25-31. Archbishop William Goh will be leading the group, along with Frs Jude David, Brian D’Souza and Jovita Ho.

The archdiocesan trip itself is expected to last from late July to early August.

During the March 12 spiritual preparation programme, the first to be held for the upcoming WYD for these pilgrims, participants got to know each other through icebreakers and sharing sessions.

A time of praise and worship followed during which participants learnt the WYD song.

Group sharing by participants.Group sharing by participants.Fr Jude told participants that WYD is a journey of spirituality; they embark on this pilgrimage to encounter Jesus and be surprised by Him.

Fr Jude also stressed the importance of a spirituality of unity as the Church in Singapore is part of the Universal Church. This sense of unity is important, he told the pilgrims, as they experience the ups and downs of the pilgrimage together. 

He also highlighted the significance of this WYD taking place during the Year of Mercy in Krakow, the city where St Faustina received the image of the Divine Mercy, and where St John Paul II was archbishop.

A time of adoration followed in which pilgrims were asked to reflect on how Jesus has shown mercy to them in their lives.

Participants shared that they felt spiritually recharged.

“The beautiful time of reflection and thanksgiving allowed me to settle down and realign myself to the search for God’s purpose in calling me to this pilgrimage,” said Ms Esther Goh, 28, from the Seven Graces Community under OYP’s pastoral care.

Mr Garrett Ng, 22, from the NTU Catholic Students’ Apostolate, said, “From the moment I entered the hall, I could see the excitement on everyone’s faces and it was amazing to think that everyone around me was a brother or sister in Christ, soon to set out on a journey together.”

Mr Bennett Lee, 21, from the Singapore University of Technology and Design’s Refuge Catholic Community, said the words of the WYD song, “for it is mercy that will be shown to those who show mercy”, reminded him that mercy is something people need a lot of in their daily lives.

OYP said it will be organising a local WYD celebration on July 2 ahead of the actual pilgrimage, to bring the WYD spirit to Singapore. Organisers say they would like to invite young people to come together in fellowship, prayer and adoration, similar to the actual WYD.

For updates, visit www.oyp.org.sg/WYD16/

By Shaun Liu

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