As thousands of pilgrims from across the UK prepare to travel to Poland for World Youth Day in Krakow, a group of young communications officers are being encouraged to “live life in the Spirit” and report creatively with “a pure heart.”
The advice came in a homily given by Fr Christopher Jamison OSB, director of the National Office for Vocation, at a special Mass to kick-start a full day’s training for 60 young media officers from the dioceses of England and Wales.
A key part of the job, says Fr Jamison, is reporting on the events of World Youth Day for those not fortunate enough to be going:
“Your task as comms officers is to help people here in Britain see God at work in WYD. To do that you will need eyes that can see God in all that frenetic activity going on around you: on the journey, in the crowds and during the supersized liturgies.”
He enthused the pilgrims on the course and dared them to be different in their approach to covering the global Catholic youth extravaganza:
“The world’s ordinary media in Krakow will see all the earthquake elements such as the vast crowds and the papal motorcade; they’ll report on that as if holding a vast demo is what the Church wants to show the world.
“So you are the ones called to see God in the gentle breeze and to describe to others the breath of the Holy Spirit transforming lives during the whole WYD event. To see that work of the Spirit and to report on it creatively, to do that, you need a pure heart.
“A pure heart doesn’t come from just keeping the minimum of rules. Jesus says you need to look beyond the rules: be merciful, be chaste, be honourable.
“Now that isn’t a new set of rules, it’s a mind-set that grows in time with plenty of false starts and lots of falls from grace along the way.
“But to want to live life in the Spirit is the first step to that purity of heart which enables us to see God and tell others about God. So don’t keep your prayer in one box and your reporting in another.”
Fr Jamison concluded by encouraging the young media officers to keep their ears open for God’s call:
“Twenty-five per cent of seminarians mention WYD as a key moment on their vocational journey; other people meet their marriage partners there and others again hear a call to a life’s work.
“An important part of your vocation during these days in Poland is to report on the hidden dimension of God’s work. A vocation isn’t a fixed item and so embrace this temporary vocation; who knows where it may lead you in the future; maybe media work will be a part of your future.”
The training day was organised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and took place at Westminster Youth Centre in Euston.
On the same theme, Polish bishop, Bishop Solarczyk has said World Youth Day can make young people recognise their vocation.
Meeting with priests and nuns during World Youth Day can make young people recognise their vocation; it is also a chance for them to see various forms of consecrated life and pastoral ministry, said Bishop Marek Solarczyk, the Delegate of the Polish Episcopal Conference in charge of the Pastoral Care of Vocations.
During the festival which will accompany WYD in Krakow, vocation centres will be set up where various religious communities will familiarise young people with the charism and the activities of their orders.
“There will be presentations of religious life from all over the world, not just Poland. Certain religious orders will prepare joint demonstrations in order to show how their charism has been practised over the years,” explained Bishop Solarczyk.
According to the bishop this will be an opportunity to show the richness of the consecrated life, within specific charisms worldwide.
“I hope that young people will recognise their vocation through meetings with priests, nuns, witnesses of religious orders. This will be an opportunity for deep reflection during meetings and talks,” said the bishop.
Asked whether World Youth Day will lead to an increase in the number of priestly and religious vocations, Bishop Solarczyk replied: “I do not have detailed information on the statistical data that would seek to explain it, but with a little ingenuity and based on some information that has been available, I can safely say that such a relationship exists.”
Photo: Pope Francis arrives to celebrate the World Youth Day’s closing Mass in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, 28th July, 2013 – the last time World Youth Day was held.