WYD: Visiting the "Vocations Fair"

Being free from leading catechesis to the youth in the morning, I could decide each day what to do. I knew that today was the final day of the "Vocations Fair" and took a couple of hours to go and visit it. Thank God it was possible to go with the Metro (Underground) and it did not take me long to find the place.

The "Vocations Fair" is a space for the different "calls - charisms" to present themselves to the youth. "It is an event which seeks to bring young people to ask what is the meaning and mission of their life. From their exposure to the richness and diversity of charisms of congregations, religious movements and communities, which are concrete answers to the call of God, pilgrims are led to reflect and driven to seek their place in the Church". 

Lots of people were waiting outside and I wondered why. I had not been following the news and programs and did not know that Pope Francis would be there in the morning. But soon he was gone and we were all allowed to go in.

The "Vocations Fair" includes also a place to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation and a tent for prayer where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration.

I saw long queues of young people waiting to celebrate their reconciliation and not enough priests so... though I was in a WYD green T-shirt I approached the leaders with the card that identifies me as a Bishop and offered to help. They were deeply grateful and immediately found a place for me. On one side they indicate the possible languages to be used. In my case: Spanish, English and Italian. 

I remained for two hours until more priests arrived and saw there was no need for me to stay. The "World Youth Day" is "a pilgrimage". Everything here helps us remember that. From the words of Pope Francis in March: "I to am setting out on a journey with you, starting today. We are now close to the next stage of this great pilgrimage of the Cross..." (24 March 2013) to the material given when we arrived ("Pilgrim Guide"), to this space of reconciliation and prayer. It was clear in those I met this morning that they wanted to celebrate Jesus' merciful love, be his disciples and follow him.


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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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