World Youth Day mid-week update

'The moment we have been waiting 3 years for has arrived'

It’s official: Pope Francis has landed in Krakow, Poland, which means the real festivities for World Youth Day 2016 are only just beginning. Check out this gallery featuring some of the highlights of the week thus far, and be sure to follow Denver Catholic on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates direct from Krakow!

Pope Francis landed in Poland for World Youth Day the morning of July 27. “The moment we have been waiting 3 years for has arrived,” Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz said in his homily during the World Youth Day opening Mass the day earlier. (Photo by L’Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis waves to journalists and others who were waiting to greet him upon his arrival to Poland. (Photo by Paulina Krzyzak/World Youth Day Krakow 2016 via Flickr)

Pope Francis waves to journalists and others who were waiting to greet him upon his arrival to Poland. (Photo by Paulina Krzyzak/World Youth Day Krakow 2016 via Flickr)

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Pope Francis arrived to the welcoming ceremony of World Youth Day July 28 in the Popemobile and greeted pilgrims from throughout the world who were waiting for him there in Blonia Park. (Photo by Paulina Krzyzak/World Youth Day Krakow 2016 via Flickr)

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila meets with Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow and long-time aide to Pope St. John Paul II. (Photo by T. Warczak)

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila meets with Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow and long-time aide to Pope St. John Paul II. (Photo by T. Warczak)

Millions of people from throughout the world gather for the opening Mass of World Youth Day on July 26 at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland.(Photo by Mariusz Cygan/World Youth Day Krakow 2016 via Flickr)

Thousands of people from throughout the world gather for the opening Mass of World Youth Day on July 26 at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland.(Photo by Mariusz Cygan/World Youth Day Krakow 2016 via Flickr)

Nationalities from all over the world were in attendance at the opening Mass of World Youth Day. (Photo by Stanislaw Wasiutynski/World Youth Day Krakow 2016 via Flickr)

Nationalities from all over the world were in attendance at the opening Mass of World Youth Day. (Photo by Stanislaw Wasiutynski/World Youth Day Krakow 2016 via Flickr)

Colorado pilgrims prepare to celebrate the opening Mass at World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland. During his homily, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz urged all of the young people in attendance from throughout the world to take what they gain from World Youth Day and, “Carry the good news about Jesus Christ to the world.” (Photo by Fabio Beretta/World Youth Day Krakow 2016 via Flickr)

Colorado pilgrims prepare to celebrate the opening Mass at World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland. During his homily, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz urged all of the young people in attendance from throughout the world to take what they gain from World Youth Day and, “Carry the good news about Jesus Christ to the world.” (Photo by Fabio Beretta/World Youth Day Krakow 2016 via Flickr)

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Pilgrims from Our Lady of Valley parish in Windsor were among some of the Colorado pilgrims in attendance at the opening Mass for World Youth Day July 26. (Photo provided)

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila stands with youth representing several different countries following a catechesis session led by him July 27 at World Youth Day. (Photo provided)

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila stands with youth representing several different countries following a catechesis session led by him July 27 at World Youth Day. (Photo provided)

Father Ryan O' Neill, Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Denver, visits the Baptismal font in Wadowice where Pope St. John Paul II was baptized. (Photo provided)

Father Ryan O’ Neill, Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Denver, visits the Baptismal font in Wadowice where Pope St. John Paul II was baptized. (Photo provided)

Pilgrims from Christ the King parish in Evergreen explore the city of Krakow in Poland. (Photo provided)

Pilgrims from Christ the King parish in Evergreen explore the city of Krakow in Poland. (Photo provided)

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.


Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash