World Youth Day USA Guides International Pilgrimage Leaders Guide - Page 23

Foundations: Pilgrimage and World Youth Day In Kraków in the 1940s, a young Karol Wojtyła These moments undoubtedly shaped the future (who was studying in the underground saint and very likely had an influence on his seminary run by the Archbishop of Kraków) outreach to youth and young adults when he was inspired and mentored by Jan Tyranowski, became Pope John Paul II in 1978. During the a local tailor and the young adult ministry leader Jubilee Year of Redemption, which began in for Wojtyła’s parish community, St. Stanislaus 1983 to commemorate 1950 years since the Kostka Church in Debnicki. The parish, run by death and resurrection of Christ, the Holy the Salesians of Don Bosco (a group dedicated Father called a special gathering of young to outreach to youth and young adults around people, which would take place on Palm the world), was a fitting setting for the Sunday 1984, one of the last acts of the jubilee seminarian to recognize the value of ministerial celebration. With the momentum of this event, leadership and its impact on young people. coupled with another gathering the following After ordination and despite Communist Palm Sunday to mark the United Nations’ proscriptions against religious gatherings, International Year of Youth, the pope declared throughout the 1950s Fr. Wojtyła would risk the institution of World Youth Day in exposure to the authorities in regular outings December 1985. Ever since, the Catholic with university students, young adults, and Church around the world has annually young married couples that included prayer, celebrated young people in local and global catechesis, retreats, and charitable acts of gatherings which continue to this day. service, as well as in-home Masses, saint-day social events, and skiing and kayaking The origins of this story, though, lie in the excursions. In fact, it was during one of these foundations of pastoral leadership in service to outings in 1958 when Fr. Wojtyła was youth and young adults: first received, then summoned to Warsaw to accept his given. Those who lead pilgrimages to World appointment as the Auxiliary Bishop of Youth Day today follow in the footsteps of Kraków; then, after the formalities in the capital Karol Wojtyła – and take from him the mantle city, he returned to the young people in their to teach, inspire, and accompany another canoes to continue his ministry with them. generation of missionary disciples. 21