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More youth share their WYD experiences

timothyTimothy Fong, KK Archdiocese: In his closing Mass homily, Pope Francis mentioned something which struck me.  He said “In his eyes the clothes you wear or the kind of cell phone you use are of absolutely no concern. He doesn’t care whether you are stylish or not; he cares about you! In his eyes, you are precious, and your value is inestimable…People may laugh at you because you believe in the gentle and unassuming power of mercy. But do not be afraid.”  This was my first WYD…meeting Pope Francis in the flesh was amazing which words could not describe.  Polish hospitality reminded me of Sabahans’ generous smile and love.

 graceGrace Chin, KK Archdiocese: Our Lord taught us “Love one another as I have loved you” but to what extent can we practise this? Yes, we will love our dear ones but is it possible for us to show love to a stranger? Will we share our room and food with them? And yet I have experienced all this  in Poland. I was very blessed to have stayed with two lovely families (in Bulowice and Krakow), together with another foster sister from Malaysia. The love, warmth and kindness that I have received were truly amazing. I never felt I was far from home as they treated us like their own children. Every day they prepared food for us no matter what the time was (early in the morning or late at night), and we would sit together, chit-chatting and sharing our experience and culture.  When we got back home late at night, they would always welcome us with a big smile and hugs, even though they were tired and exhausted from their work. From this WYD, I experienced lots of joy, fun, friendship and tears as well, but most of all the love and mercy of God.

 shaneShane Lumau, Keningau Diocese: On the 1st day of WYD, the Malaysian contingent was assigned to lead the Adoration at 9:00 pm at St Mary Basilica. We prayed the Divine Mercy in Malay. It felt like home to be able to pray in our own language in this foreign city. Since it is a Year of Mercy, we were able to visit the Sanctuary of St John Paul II and Divine Mercy Sanctuary.  We visited St Faustina’s tomb and viewed the miraculous painting of the merciful Jesus. My heart leapt with joy to receive this blessing during the Year of Mercy. The message by Pope Francis ‘Young people, do not retire young!’ struck me  even before coming to Poland. I felt so tired and drained after SYD-4 and thought of quitting from active service in the Youth Commission of Keningau Diocese. But many things that I have witnessed during WYD have given me new energy to continue my service for the glory of the Lord!

 aaronAaron Matanjun, KK: It was a blessing to be in the homeland of St John Paul II and St Faustina Kowalska. The pilgrimages to the holy sites in Kraków and the vigil with the Holy Father Pope Francis impacted me the most. These places have shown me how  Pope John Paul II and Faustina Kowalska devoted their lives entirely to Jesus and God regardless of the obstacles and situations faced. It was here I was inspired to be a more devoted practising Catholic especially during these perilous and challenging times.  In his speech at the vigil, Pope Francis said,  “Take each other’s hand. This is a great bridge of brotherhood.” Everyone held each other’s hands. It told me that all of us must be united if we want to make changes and have a brighter future for Catholic youths.

fatimaFatima, KL Archdiocese: I had not planned to go to WYD 2016 as I did not see the need for it. But Divine Providence paved a way for me to be at Kraków and took care of every detail that I was worried about. Being able to venerate the relics of a few great saints, including one of my favourites, St John Paul the Great, to visit his hometown, to walk the streets that he walked, and to be hosted by his own people were among my personal highlights. The Polish taught me a lot about hospitality, generosity and simplicity.  The Iraqi Catholics, who made it to Poland and shared their story, taught me about true faith. Joining the Eucharistic procession and Adoration with 18,000 Catholics led by Bishop Robert Barron was remarkable. Keeping vigil and participating at Mass with millions of Catholics celebrated by the Holy Father was truly edifying. From the outset, WYD Kraków 2016 has been a journey of growing in trust in God for me, and very aptly the famous prayer from the land of mercy is “Jesus, I trust in You.” There truly is no reason for me not to.

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