Before they left for World Youth Day, Sydney pilgrims were given journals to record their thoughts on all that happens during their time away. The books also contain prayers and hymns for the daily Masses and other spiritual moments, including a prayer and song Blessed are the Merciful written for this year’s celebrations in Krakow.
Finding a quiet space in the evenings to talk with friends about each day’s events, reflect and write in the journals is an integral part of the pilgrim experience.
Venice to Rome Pilgrimage Leader and Principal at Casimir Catholic College Marrickville, Daniel McInerney, said the exercise gave students time to stop and reflect on what they are doing.
“It’s not simply like keeping a diary. It has a spiritual aspect to it as well,” he said.
“It gets them to live the experience again through the mind. They’ve walked the streets, visited the churches, but by journaling they get to reconnect to those experiences and in a faith-filled way.
“When it works well, you can actually see a level of spiritual reflection. For some students their demeanor and presence is exactly what you would see of them in church, but outside the walls of the church.”
When they’re connected to the task it’s spiritual.
Casimir Year 10 students Sumaya Iwaszkiewicz and Diego Moriera said Florence, also known as the ‘Cradle of the Renaissance’, had been a highlight of their pilgrimage.
“So far I’ve written about my views on religion in general as a whole and how it has evolved from ancient times, through the middle ages and Renaissance to today. I’ve also written about the experiences we’ve had, and my friends and faith.”
Diego said a homily that acknowledged priests were not perfect struck a chord with him.
“Fr Ben said that even Friars can be feisty and not perfect – they’re human too,” he said. “I wrote about what we’ve been doing and all the places we’ve seen.”
Share: What places or things did you write about in your World Youth Day journal? (Leave a comment below).