We're on the bus heading towards Wadowice, the birth place of St John Paul II, and then to Auschwitz later this afternoon. It is a long journey so I have a little time to offer a little reflection about yesterday.
Sunday was the culmination of our time in Łomianki and it ended in celebration! First was the celebration of Mass, the first Mass to be celebrated in a brand new church that has been 20 years in the making! After lunch the whole group, along with our host families, visited the gardens that were made to be blessed by Bishop William. Finally, there was a parish barbecue that lasted long into the night. That may be the reason why the coach has been blissfully quiet this morning!
One thing that struck me about the day was the profound love for the priesthood the people have. Fr Chris, who was ordained a week ago, presided at Mass and offered his first blessing to the parishioners. There was such joy, even to tears, at the grace of another priest. The people had a profound gratitude to a priest they barely knew because of his 'yes' to the invitation to the priesthood.
In the evening, the young people who had been looking after our group, preformed a dance depicting the life of Christ. At the Last Supper scene, they explained that this was the moment Jesus instituted the priesthood and the Eucharist. Later on, the person playing Jesus stood behind the priest guiding his hands as he baptised people into the life of Christ.
In the priesthood, through the hands of the priest the saving work of Jesus continues in the Church. The people here really understood that as they kissed Fr Chris's hands after receiving his first blessing.
Both the Mass and the dance left me feeling a little emotional. Recalling my own call and sharing the priesthood of Jesus. It is a high and noble calling, one that none of us are worthy of. But in our brokenness and unworthiness we are, nonetheless, called and used by the Lord to be His hands in the world.
Please pray for the priests on the pilgrimage, Archbishop Bernard, Bishop William, Fr Jan, Fr Allen MSC, Fr Chris and myself. We will be part of some 20,000 priests serving the few million young people. Pray for us all and all priests! Thank God for each 'yes' to the priesthood! Pray for the young men on our pilgrimage, I'm convinced there are few vocations to the priesthood among us. Pray that they'll be courageous in offering their 'yes' to Jesus.