Angela Serednicki

Sowing the soil before the seed is planted

By  Angela Serednicki, Youth Speak News
  • August 10, 2011

As World Youth Day quickly approaches, youth from all over the world are busy preparing for the celebration of the Catholic faith in Madrid, Spain. Millions of people will take part in a transformative worldwide encounter with Pope Benedict XVI during the week of Aug. 16-21.

Never having attended a World Youth Day, I am so excited to experience this year’s extraordinary opportunity to deepen my faith and grow closer to Christ during this week-long event.

When I first signed up to attend World Youth Day with my parish’s youth group, I admit that the idea of travelling to the beautiful city of Madrid with my closest friends quickly convinced me to take part. I didn’t stop to think about how the World Youth Day pilgrimage could have a potential effect on my life and faith.

But after learning about Pope Benedict XVI’s message for this event, I thought that if I truly wanted this experience to have a profound effect on my relationship with Jesus, I would have to start preparing for it as soon as possible.  

The theme for the 26th World Youth Day is “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith.”

If I want to be planted and built up in Jesus Christ and have a firm and strong faith, I know that like a good farmer, I have to sow and water the soil before the seed is even planted. This way, I can ensure that whatever is planted will continue to grow and flourish for the rest of my life.

This means I need to prepare myself physically and spiritually so I can take full advantage of the knowledge and experiences World Youth Day will surely offer me.

To prepare, I began to do simple things throughout my day to strengthen my relationship with God. Every day, I pray not only for myself, my family and friends, but also for the thousands of other pilgrims who will take part in this journey with me. With the help of the Bible app on my iPod, I have been reading short Bible verses before bed and have even started to jot down my personal favourites in a notebook.

On this road to World Youth Day, our youth group has also scheduled four weekends of preparation days for all participants. During this time we have done a lot of reflection, pray the rosary together with the rest of our community, educate ourselves on what is expected of religious pilgrims and, ultimately, we build our solidarity as pilgrims by spending time together.

Though these may seem like simple things, small daily reminders of Christ during our busy days help us to focus on achieving our goal of both a successful and fruitful experience in Madrid.

By doing so, we allow God to shape our lives by being open to the divine graces He wants us to experience. See you in Madrid!

(Serednicki, 16, is a Grade 11 student at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont.)

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