Bloggers Nikki and Tricia Walz participated in World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, July 26-31. Using this blog, they will reflect on their experiences. This is the third in a series.
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20)
We took these words quite literally at World Youth Day this year! We walked miles and miles, which to some may seem like a nightmare, but the conversations we were able to have on these walks made every blister worth it.
One of the people I was blessed to be able to spend many miles with was Fr. Russell Kovash from Williston, North Dakota. Fr. Russell is one of the most genuine, kind people I have ever met. I was instantly drawn to his humble personality and his incredible words of wisdom. Just listening to him speak inspired me to strive to be a better person. It was really neat that Fr. Russell as well as six priests (and the bishop!) from the Diocese of Winona took time out of their busy schedules to come to Poland with us and not only give us spiritual direction but take time to get to know and befriend every one of us.
Follow this link http://stjosephwilliston.podbean.com and click on August 7th to hear Fr. Russ speak about the pilgrimage and how it pertains to our faith journey.
The good conversations did not only take place while walking. One of the first things I noticed was that you were instantly friends with everyone. Really, when you came across someone at any point of the trip you already knew that you had your Faith in common- you were already instantly connected- like you already have an incredible bond that cannot be put into words. Throughout our journey we met people from so many different countries. One group of pilgrims that my sisters and I immediately connected with were these 3 from London. They were siblings traveling together- much like my sisters and I. Dami, TJ, and Oyinda had such a joy about them; to see siblings that close really drew us towards them. We found it truly amazing how you can meet a group of siblings and instantly be inspired to make your relationship with your siblings more like theirs.
While we were on the train we met a native from Krakow who was on her way to work. We started talking about World Youth Day and about the 2 million pilgrims that were in Krakow. She said some of the young people prior to World Youth Day were starting to spend too much time at the clubs, etc. but since all the young Catholics arrived, she had been seeing a difference in not only the young Polish people but the rest of the town as well. She said she was amazed at how her town was being transformed. This was neat to hear that just seeing 2 million people all uniting for the same thing could have this kind of effect on an already very Catholic town. Just how much does the United States need this witness?!