By Maureen Cromer
After a very much needed full night’s sleep, our journey to Kraków continued on Saturday morning with Mass in the park celebrated by Father Matthew Buening, chaplain of the Towson University Newman Center.
Father Matthew Buening celebrates Mass outdoors. (Courtesy Matthew Himes)
Following Mass, we headed to the Warsaw Old Town, the historic part of Poland’s capital, for a short, self-guided walking tour.
Interestingly enough, Old Town is not really all that old. The original buildings and churches that once stood in Old Town were destroyed during World War II. However, the Polish government and a team of historians rebuilt the historic city based off of paintings of the original structures.
Pilgrims enjoyed self-guided tours of Warsaw Old Town. (Maureen Cromer/CR Staff)
After departing Old Town, we headed for a World Youth Day kickoff picnic and event with other U.S. pilgrims hosted by our travel provider, Dube Travel.
We were joined at the event by pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Boston, the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., and the Diocese of Orlando, to name a few.
Following the picnic, the pilgrims gathered together to hear noted Catholic youth evangelist Chris Stefanick speak about faith and sharing the experience of a pilgrimage with all those around us.
“True greatness always triumphs,” Stefanick said. “It comes out of the struggles of our lives.”
Before departing for our hotel, all of the U.S. pilgrims had the opportunity to participate in eucharistic adoration and confession at Sanktuarium Milosierdzia Bozego – one of the Holy Doors for this Holy Year of Mercy.