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How WYD Made the Nicene Creed Real

    On August 3rd I returned back to Winnipeg after two and a half weeks in Poland while participating in World Youth Day. As I sat on the air plane that took nine hours to get me back to Canada, I began to contemplate and review the many unique experiences that I gained from this amazing pilgrimage. That plane ride gave me the time to digest the over flowing plateful of adventure I had just undergone. As I sat there on the dimly lit plane, one phrase was the base for all my thoughts: "  One, Holy, catholic, and Apostolic church" 

     That one phrase, from the Nicene Creed, can accurately sum up my World Youth Day experience. Notice in that phrase that their is a small c on catholic. The small 'c' catholic means universal, diverse, inclusive. All these adjectives were fully alive and evident in these two lively weeks.  Here was  gathered in the 'City of Saints', as Krakow is refereed to, millions of young people from all around the earth, all at peace. Nationalism was clear,  flags were waving back and forth for as far as the eye can see and the constant shouting of chants from particular countries. However, it was apparent that something greater, something more important was present, the presence of Christ.

Flags for as far as the eye can see

    It is the faith, in the One Holy catholic and apostolic Church that surpasses all division. It is the faith in the good shepherd that exceeds the nationalistic separations of humans.  It is Christ that gathered us together, gathering us in faith and in total harmony.  In the book of Jeremiah 23: 3 God speaks to Jeremiah saying, " I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture" The days that I was in Poland it was evident that God had called his flock there and it is there, in the saintly city, that any division created by nations and governmental disagreements no longer mattered, because they were not the focus of the events... It was Christ. He is and was the center of the entire pilgrimage.

    Christ was evident. He was working among the 2.5 million young people gathered. He was a visible sign in the Holy Father, who went by four feet in front of me. His face showed holiness, mercy, and sincerity. Just by his gaze, you could tell that he is a man of compassion. He does not want to judge, but rather wants to meet you where you are. Pope Francis talks often about the gaze of Jesus  towards St. Matthew. This gaze, Francis has said, is one that changes the heart, one that " brings you to grow, to move forward, that encourages you, because the One who looks upon you loves you"  ( Pope Francis Homily on Feast of St Matthew)  This is the gaze I felt when Pope Francis looked at me. A gaze that encourages you to grow in faith, drawing you closer to God.

    It was during these amazing two weeks that the words we pray in the Nicene creed came alive and real to me. The faith truly is One. Christ calls people all over the world to an authentic faith in him and in our common heavenly father. It is this authentic faith, that is grown together, in peace and harmony,  through all times, through all divisions. Through this authentic faith experience the youth of the world, were able to come and gather in the City of Saints to deepen our faith, by being close to the Holy Father, gaining wisdom through the catechesis and by being able to openly share our common faith.

   World Youth Day was an experience that proves how catholic our Catholic Faith is.

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