Poland: Days one and two

By Maureen Cromer
We made it through our first day – well, technically, two days.
Yesterday morning, 40 pilgrims from across the Archdiocese of Baltimore met at Dulles International Airport ready for departure to Kraków, Poland – the site of World Youth Day 2016.
After 14 hours of traveling, a layover in Frankfurt and little to no sleep, we have officially completed our first full day in Poland.

Pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Baltimore display the Maryland flag. (Maureen Cromer/CR Staff)

After arriving in Warsaw and checking into our hotel earlier today, we immediately sprung into our packed itinerary, starting with a bilingual Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary Immaculate at Niepokalanów monastery.

The basilica is also known as the Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe because Niepokalanów is the Conventual Franciscan monastery he founded.
Although the Mass was celebrated in Polish and Spanish, the Baltimore archdiocese’s own Father Matthew Buening, chaplain of the Towson University Newman Center, concelebrated.

Father Matthew Buening concelebrates Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary Immaculate at Niepokalanów.
(Maureen Cromer/CR Staff)

Following Mass, the Baltimore group had the opportunity to visit the original monastery chapel and the museum that commemorates the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe. Relics of St. Maximilian were venerated at the English language Mass in the chapel.

Overly tired from countless hours of travel and excitement, we ended our day at our first group dinner where we all shared stories, hopes for the trip and many laughs.
If today was a sign of the times to come, I can very much guarantee on this being an amazing trip for all of us.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.