World Youth Day Reflections

This article was posted on: October 27, 2016

10_jaceyParishioners from the diocese look back at the global event in Krakow, Poland

“At this World Youth Day, I was finally an adult and I was all on my own. In Krakow, I felt that I had a better connection with everything that was going on since I was older (having been to two previous WYDs). Every time that I have gone, I have come back a better person and have learned so much about our faith. It made me feel that I could make a difference in the Church. Sometimes you feel so small, like nothing you do can make a difference, but YOU CAN! All it takes is one person to say something. Everything that you do makes a difference in this world. ”

–  Jacey Schlagenhaft, Our Lady Of Peace Parish, Marshfield



11_kathryn-cooksvalley“Whether or not World Youth Day’s (WYD) pilgrims realized it, they entered an atmosphere rooted in Divine Mercy upon their arrival in Poland. Homilies, religious orders, music, Pope Francis’ addresses and praying the Stations of the Cross with millions of people all pointed to the evidence of mercy’s presence.Throughout WYD, God blessed me with His gaze of mercy through the presence and testimonies of others, the sacraments and the visible representation of the tender, personal love of our Creator.”

– Kathryn Shakal, St. John the Baptist Parish, Cooks Valley

11_maria_stevenspoint“One of my treasured memories occurred on Thursday night.  The platform of the Krakow train station to return to Wielickza was overrun with people desperate to get on the train. We were planning on having to stand packed like sardines on the train, but three young men from Poland offered another girl and us their seats. The next 30 minutes went by in a blur as we conversed with the three guys from Poland, a girl from Italy and a guy from Nigeria, in the space designed for four. The Church is truly Catholic! God truly can work wonders in the midst of challenging situations!”

– Maria Schmitz, science & religion teacher at Pacelli High School, Stevens Point

11_maggie_portedwards”The beauty of World Youth Day is that the structure is fairly universal, but the host country infuses its own culture into the celebration, making World Youth Day unique every year it is hosted. Not only do you breathe in other cultures from around the world, but you also open yourself to a deeper understanding of your home country. If you feel the word ‘youth’ restricts you from partaking in the event, remember we are all young in God’s eyes.”

– Maggie Schutz, St. Alexander Parish, Port Edwards

” The love of Christ radiated from the faces of nearly everyone we encountered. Expressions of kindness and charity abounded despite the crowded trains, long lines and packed streets. It was very evident that the patron saints of WYD, St. John Paul II and St. Faustina, were definitely interceding before God and watching over us all.”

– Sabrina Klein, director of religious education at Holy Family (Arcadia) & Sacred Heart (Pine Creek) Parishes

“Seeing millions of other Catholics at once was incredibly powerful, highlighting the truly universal nature of the Church. Though it was impossible to understand the many languages being spoken, there was a vast and profound connection through the Church. It was great to be in the presence of the pope and to hear him speak to the multitude of people. I am also very thankful to all of our parish members and family for supporting and praying for us on this trip; we couldn’t have done it on our own. This was a trip I will remember for the rest of my life”

Nathan Grygleski, Queen of the Apostles Parish, Tomah


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