Six students and one chaperone will represent Fordham at this year’s World Youth Day (WYD) in Krakow, Poland, a gathering of some 2 million young Catholics from around the globe from July 25 to Aug. 1.
The students left on July 14 to participate in the Jesuit-sponsored MAGIS week of service and reflection leading up to the WYD event.From July 15 to July 23, they will do service projects in various locations, including two days in the city of Łódź, Poland, where they will assist an order of Ursuline sisters who run a school for children with disabilities.
“MAGIS is a program that allows students to grow deeper in their faith through practicing the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises,” said John Gownley, chief sacristan and assistant director of liturgy for Campus Ministry.
Following that, students will take on individual “experiments” in which they will be grouped with other Jesuit students from around the world. Christopher Dollesin, a rising sophomore majoring in marketing at the Gabelli School of Business, will be heading to Lubin, Poland, where he will join 25 French and Lebanese students in a project meant to teach unity through multiculturalism.
Over a six-day period, his group will work to overcome language differences and create a pantomimed theater piece using as few words as possible.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but we’ve got a great local theater to help us. So I’m extremely excited, to say the least,” he said.
On July 25, the students reconvene in Krakow for WYD, where Pope Francis will deliver a welcome address, and celebrate a universal Mass in which the pope is expected to offer prayer in several languages.
Gownley said that prayer and reflection are an essential component of the students’ WYD experience.
“To practice their faith on an international level, which they haven’t done yet, and to see it in another country and share the universal Mass, is a very moving experience,” he said.
(Patrick Verel assisted with the reporting.)