WYD with the Dominicans in Krakow

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WYD with the Dominicans in Krakow
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Naturally, one would imagine that the official programme of activities for the World Youth Day would be extensive and busy enough, that planning any “side events” in addition to that would be a fruitless venture. Apart from the official activities of the WYD, there were other side events all over the city of Krakow hosted by different church and state organizations.

In addition to all these, the Dominicans friars of the Convent of Krakow planned an extensive programme of events to run concurrently with all these other events. This would sound competitive but far from it. The friars organized their programme with a unique Dominican character as a complement to the general programme of the WYD. It was tagged “WYD with the Dominicans”.

Indeed, the success of their programme could be measured, among other things, by the amount of visitors they had on a daily basis throughout the time of the WYD. Apart from the large number of Dominican friars from different parts of the world who lodged in their convent, people kept trooping in and out of their church and convent, the young and the old alike from different parts of the world.

What did the friars offer the crowd that kept them coming?

First, the friars brought the reliquary of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (an Italian Dominican layman) to their church for veneration. That was a key attraction because Blessed Frassati is associated with the young and particularly the WYD 2016.

Second, to accompany this, the friars opened a café tagged “Frassati Café” where they offered free coffee, tea, snacks and a place to relax and chat. This was another major attraction and complementary to the first. They did not only provide food for the soul but also food for the body. To enable them do this, the friars threw open their convent garden (which is usually private) to all who came.

Third, on a daily basis, the friars had different liturgical activities beginning with Morning Prayer, Mass at noon and Evening Prayer. Their church was filled each time and they had an average of 50 priests concelebrating at each Mass. The highlight of the liturgical celebrations was the “Vigil of the Dominican Saints” led by the Master of the Order, fr Bruno Cadoré. It was a night of adoration, prayer, worship, testimony and teachings on the life of Dominican saints beginning with St Dominic himself. Outside, a movie on the history of the Order was projected on the walls of the convent.

Finally, throughout the WYD celebrations, the Dominican convent and church remained a major spot of attraction for many and the friars themselves where at hand to welcome all who came, offering them tours of their convent and narratives of the history of the Order in general and the Order in Poland in particular.  Fr Bruno Cadoré testified to this:

Apart from all these, the friars were also involved in the planning of the WYD at different levels. For instance, fr Dawid Kusz was not only the conductor of the official choir of the WYD, he also played a major role in the composition of the official hymn of the event.

The ingenuity of the friars in planning such a wonderful programme, their sacrifice and their unreserved availability to the people was amazing. Indeed, the people came, they saw and they were happy and satisfied and that made me proud to be a Dominican at the WYD Krakow 2016.

You can find all the beautiful pictures and videos here. 

 

(03 August 2016)