Come August 2016, there will have been 2 World Youth Days in Poland: Czestochowa and Krakow.
I am particularly glad for my brother and his family who will be attending the upcoming WYD! The previous WYD occurred in 1991 (when I was 6 and my brother was 4) and was themed, “’You have received a spirit of sonship’ (Rom 8:15).”
In preparation for that event, Pope John Paul II said in his message in 1990:
Holiness is the essential heritage of the children of God. Christ says: ‘Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Mt 5:48). This means doing the will of the Father in every circumstance of life.
I recognize in the quotation of St. Matthew’s Gospel by JPII a chief aspect of the person of the Father that will be reflected differently at the WYD in Krakow: “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful” (Lk. 6:36). The reason for this reflection is that the theme of the 2016 WYD in Krakow is “Blessed are the Merciful” and “Have mercy on us and on the whole world” (Kowalska). That is to say, that we who seek the perfection of the Father are capable of seeking Him on account of his Mercy.
So we go from a theme of sonship in the 1991 WYD to the goal of such sonship, the Father! Already, with more than 6 months to go, I can notice on the horizon a reminder of JPII’s legacy in Krakow but superseded by the greatness of the Heavenly Father as revealed to us by the merciful Christ Jesus. Though I won’t be there in person, I am aware of a kind of “Philadelphia”—or a brotherly love for the city of Krakow where my blood brother will be and where Jesus our Brother is, was, and is to come. Our original family name “Wroeblewski” is common in much of Poland, and is in fact taken from a common Polish sparrow (Wróbel) that can easily be found throughout the country. With this in mind, I really enjoy the aerial views represented in the official hymn “Błogosławieni miłosierni” video for the event—as though a sparrow were soaring throughout the country and surveying what the Father is about to do there. My prayer is that St. John Paul II’s legacy and especially written works will not be forgotten but more and more incorporated into the life of families, priests and religious for the greater glory of God!