Wow! What an experience!

By  Patrick Grant, Catholic Register Special
  • July 26, 2016

As a teenager from a small town in a small province, the whole concept of World Youth Day is exciting. I get to travel to a different country, I don't have to work for a few weeks, I'll meet new people, the list goes on.

After months of preparing, fundraising and praying, the day finally came. We got up nice and early to get on our plane from Charlottetown, P.E.I. to Toronto. It all felt quite surreal, similar to a dream.

Some 25 hours of travel time later we arrived in Krakow, where we would be staying for the next three weeks. My mom and I were to be part of a volunteer group known as ICE (International Centre of Evangelization); we would be working alongside close to 1,000 other volunteers.

The first few days were full of praise and worship, Mass, prayer and talks. The language barrier made things difficult, but there were translators that made life a little bit easier. Around halfway through the week we began our evangelization throughout the city of Krakow. We went to different locations to put on dramas, give testimonies, sing songs and spread the good news of God.

The walk from the ICE centre to the city square was incredible. We sang and cheered and waved to townspeople and they'd smile and wave back. It was an amazing witness to the people of Krakow and even to myself, seeing all the joy and the Holy Spirit just flowing from the 30 different countries represented walking through these streets.

The days following that consisted of going to different stages throughout Krakow and evangelizing to people walking by. For the first few days I was very intimidated by the language barrier. I didn't want to even try talking to anyone because I was scared they wouldn't understand what I was saying. However, I started getting more comfortable with it and approaching people to spread God's love. The stories I heard of some people's conversations and people giving their lives to God right there in public is quite amazing.

Everything previously mentioned has been only a week and a half. I'm still in Krakow, and have another week and a half left. World Youth Day has only just begun and I'm so excited to see what God has in store for me and all the other pilgrims from across the world.