Malaysian Catholics at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport in Sabah, Malaysia on July 22. This group will fly to Italy and then make their way by coach to the Polish city of Krakow for the World Youth Day celebrations. (ucanews.com photo)
Adeline may be over 50 years of age but that isn't about to stop her proudly and excitedly reaffirming her faith at the World Youth Day celebrations being held in Poland July 25-31. The middle-aged woman is among scores of older Malaysians joining hundreds of young Catholics, led by Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim of Kuala Lumpur, in heading to Krakow for the celebrations. "This is my third World Youth Day event, each pilgrimage has further strengthened my faith and renewed me," Adeline said a day before her group made the final preparations to depart on July 22. "It is the spirit of the Lord that motivates me," she explained. Over 400 Malaysians and 200 Singaporeans have registered as official participants through their diocese offices. A hundred more will be travelling there privately.
"Archbishop Leow said he would walk with the youth, share their accommodation and food and forgo the special treatment accorded to him by organizers," said an official at his diocese. A single mother has arranged for her two children to go on the pilgrimage to strengthen their faith. "It is the least I can do," she said. A childless couple in their 30s, who celebrated their fifth marriage anniversary recently, said they hope they will be blessed. "What motivates me? We want a child; maybe this time he will bless us," said the husband who requested anonymity. For Cassandra Elaine, a young office worker, this is her second World Youth Day. Elaine said she is "still looking for her vocation in life." Daniel Lin, 19, fresh out of school and waiting to go to university, said he is curious about his faith so his parents encouraged him to go on this trip. For Clement Chong, 37, his participation is a spiritual shot-in-the-arm as well as a chance to know that he is not alone. Steven, a catechist who uses one name, said the event is a good reminder on what life is really about. "We must all learn that it is not about money, status, popularity, or any other idols in the world," said Steven. "We want to be open to the life that God wants to give us offer our lives for God," he said. "World Youth Day is a testimony of affirmation to the truth of what the church preaches to the nations," he added. "It will be a chance for them to meet people of their age from all parts of the world and thus be able to share their faith experiences to their mutual edification." Held every three years, the event gives Catholic youth an opportunity to take part in a festive encounter with their contemporaries. It is also used as a platform to explore the hope of many young people who want to commit themselves to Christ.
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