WORLD YOUTH DAY
« We praise the Living Lord, we bring to the world the Son of the Most High. Yes, his Kingdom is among us and we proclaim his love! »
It is with the words of this beautiful World Youth Day song that I come to share with you a brief summary of what I have experienced in Lisbon during the World Youth Day. It was a time of grace.The Lord did wonders for me, Holy is his Name!
It was the first time I'd travelled to Europe and the first time that I took part in a World Youth Day. It was indeed a blessing!
I had the blessing to visit the Shrine of Fatima and to see the Holy Father three times. This expanded my heart and deepened my relationship with the Lord, but also with the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother. I put all my trust in God, telling myself that everything is a blessing and that everything happens out of pure grace.
This experience brought me an enormous amount of joy, and I'm still delighted about it.
The experiences are many and beautiful. I can only mention a few, the most memorable ones.
First of all, I'd like to talk about my journey from Casablanca to Lisbon, which began towards the end of the day. What a marvel! I admired the sky in all its beauty and splendour, even above the clouds. I'm still amazed! It gave me the opportunity to connect with the Lord and to praise him for the beauty of his creation through Psalm 8: "Thy majesty is sung in heaven".
During the first week of the World Youth Days, I stayed with a family in Portalegre in the diocese of Castelo Branco, where Saint Michael the Archangel's cathedral is located.
I was with 6 other Senegalese, boys and girls, and with four other delegations from the diocese of Agen, the diocese of Créteil, the delegation from Congo and the delegation from Gabon. A total of 56 people came from Senegal.
The diocese enabled us to immerse ourselves in the WYD atmosphere from the very first day through prayer, sharing the Word of God, group work and manual activities with the youths every day. It was a wonderful experience.
That first experience allowed me to meet other youth from different cultures and nationalities, and to experience the food, means of transportation and climate of Portugal. It also allowed me to experience communion and dialogue and to build relationships with other young people.
During the second week of WYD, I was hosted in the town of Masama and accommodated in a school in the parish of Saint Benoît with other young people from Haiti and France. It was a wonderful experience for me: we walked 5 km to get to the station and spent the night in the church of Saint-Benoît before being accommodated in a gymnasium with a long curtain which separated the boys from the girls. It was the first time I'd been in that situation as a nun, and I really enjoyed it.
I took part in catechism classes for 3 days on Laudato si, social fraternity and mercy. We slept in the open air to take part in the closing mass. I had a wonderful time with the youth in a spirit of joy and peace, but above all in a spirit of humility. I told myself that I am young among the young. The next WYD in 2027 will take place in South Korea.I thank God and Our Lady of Fatima for this wonderful experience!
Sister Rose Evelyne Sarr