WYD 2011: when "Leaving" rhymes with "Encounter"

To all of you who perhaps were asking one of these questions:
-  "Why the WYD"?
-  "What on earth can the youth experience there?"
-  "When they go there – what does that bring to our Church or our society?" and afterwards: "Often when they come back – nothing, no effect?"

For a year now I have been preparing the WYD, with an inter-Assumption team. We have organised a route that will include 5 days in Lourdes for the National Pilgrimage and, after that, we leave directly for Madrid on the 16th August to be at the WYD with all the other young people. 
The great thing about this team is that there are some young lay people as well as the religious from the different Assumption congregations (the Oblates, the Assumptionists, the Orantes, the Religious of the Assumption and the Little Sisters). Already, with our different sensitivities, a dialogue has been under way. 
But there are also all those young people we have been meeting over the months and who are actively preparing this event. There are those who are directly involved in the preparations at a national level, or in their diocese or in their youth groups; those who have taken the time to add something to the spiritual occasions during the preparatory gatherings; those who have offered their services to finance part of their journey; those who spent hours in the evening, after their work, to set up a website, reply to the e-mails etc.; all those who will soon be forgotten when all is over and who, all during the year, gave hours for a passion, the passion to announce that it is worth whole going to experience this event that is so special for today’s Christians: "Rooted and founded in Christ, strengthened in the faith". 
It is to say something of the life I have described that I want to give you something to meditate on while all are celebrating in the streets of Madrid, during the times of catechesis where they will be able to nourish their faith, in the times of celebration when they praise the Lord. Just before leaving I can already rejoice at the many seeds that are already beginning to grow. Here are some testimonies: 
Two years ago, Christelle lived in our community. In addition to her work she devoted hours, on a voluntary basis, to the "Communication of the National WYD". How many meetings to discover how to set up the webpage, searching with others for what would be best suited to the young people today. That page served as a basis for many other young people who were preparing the WYD in their own dioceses. She enriched our community discussions with these efforts, plunging us into the WYD well in advance. 
I’m thinking of those young people who were hired in the dioceses with special contacts . They give six months, a year, or eighteen months in the service of the Church and of other young people. Here is the testimony of one of them: "For me, I have to give all I have so that as many young people as possible can go to Madrid. It’s there that we’ll be able to have the experience of being a Christian among thousands of others of our own generation. We are going to meet so many who are not like us…" 
Who among us, in our life, has not had the experience of surpassing themselves for a project? 
I’m thinking of all those groups who have organised to set out on bicycle, by sea, on foot, by train etc. 
The solidarity route with the handicapped; the prayer route in the steps of various saints; the route for encountering the other, the stranger, who has something to say to me about my daily life; the route of prayer in monasteries so as to dwell a little more on one’s life with God; the route of sharing the Word through a little play that is presented in the towns we pass through. 
Along all these routes the young people will surpass themselves in going to encounter others and themselves even before having the encounter with the Pope. 
Who among us, in our life, has not had the experience of surpassing themselves for a project? 
Of being happy, because this experience has marked you for life? Perhaps we said to ourselves, when it was over: ’It is already finished and yet everything is beginning because of the way I’ve been enriched by the experience.’ 
Today, I’m leaving with these thousands of young people, in my heart. For me, the most important thing is to be there, to give them during the ten days a glimpse of blue sky in their life as young believers or young people who are seeking. 
As for the work, I know there’ll be more than we can do, being myself one of the Assumptionist animation team. But I’ll be able to do the work all the better thanks to the Hope I received during the preliminary work from all those young people testifying to their joy of living with Christ. 
I’ll be leaving with each of you, with the life we share in our various contacts. 
I’m thanking you in advance for having a thought for them, the media will surely be a help to you for that. Why think about it? Because, when they come back, these young people will be the ones you will meet whether at work, during their studies or in their different commitments. They will be the young adults who will change our world by their Hope and, together, we will be able to give a different taste of fraternity, communion, to our earth. 
With best wishes to all, 
Sister Patricia Sacré, France
Read more :
WYD official web site
Facebook group "WYD Assomption"
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