Manchester Chaplaincy students caught in Dover Delays on way to WYD

WYD 2016 Manchester student pilgrims
WYD 2016 Manchester student pilgrims

World Youth Day (WYD) is an event for young people organized by the Pope every two or three years and promotes the unity of various cultures within the Catholic Church. It is celebrated at the diocesan level annually and at the international level every two to three years at different locations. This year thousands from all around the world are expected to attend the 31st WYD in Krakow, Poland from 26th- 31st July 2016.

To coincide with the Jubilee Year of Mercy, WYD’s theme this year is based around the beatitude “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Mt 5:7). At the last WYD in Brazil 2013, Pope Francis asked the young people “with all my heart” to read the Beatitudes again and to make them the action plan for their lives: “Look, read the Beatitudes: that will do you good!”

The Manchester University Catholic Chaplaincy student pilgrims decided to take the longer route across Europe and drive rather than fly to Poland, visiting Westminster Cathedral to walk through the first of seven Holy Doors they visited en route. However they hit a few challenges when they were caught up in the Dover delays last week, caused by an increase in checks at the border after recent terror events in France.

The team used this experience to reflect on the recent events that have rocked the world in their most recent blog post. Lisa Burns mused during her wait with the team how sin has a ripple effect, that the response by the French border control in the wake of the Nice terror attack had directly affected their pilgrimage and the plans and opportunities lost. “It's a shame, but sin does not happen in a vacuum. It affects us all, whether directly or indirectly.  As St. Paul says, we are the body of Christ...if one part of the body is suffering, then we all suffer together”.  

These unexpected alterations are part of a pilgrimage journey however, and these changes can be seen as moments to truly trust in God. “He uses the twists and turns of our lives, the unexpected u- turns and blockages, even the consequences of others' sins, to bring us to salvation.”

They have finally arrived in Poland after 4 days on the road, and you can keep an eye on all of the experiences of WYD from the Manchester Chaplaincy students on theirblog.