For World Youth Day (WYD) pilgrim Meghan Mair of the Archdiocese of Kingston, Jamaica, the occasion was not only an opportunity to develop friendships but to experience young Catholics from all over the world coming together to answer a call from God.
Mair described her first time at WYD as an enjoyable, loving, moving and spiritual experience. She was among the 56 pilgrims registered under Jamaica (48 from the Archdiocese of Kingston, eight from the Diocese of Montego Bay and four from the Diocese of St George’s-in-Grenada).
Mair told Catholic News via email that WYD also provided an avenue for her to share the love that she has for her faith with different people and in turn, hear their views on WYD and how it had impacted their life.
“I never got to meet the Pope but his message to us is one that I will never forget and one thing he said that will always stick with me is that we, the youth, are called to be servants of the Lord and we can start becoming disciples of Christ now and spread His Word throughout the whole world,” she said.
Meanwhile, fellow Jamaica pilgrim and youth executive of the Christ the King Catholic Church community in August Town, Jennelle Jones, said she left Panama “crying” and inspired by all the love with which she was showered by participants.
She said that she was moved to dedicate some time for missionary work locally and abroad.
Another pilgrim, Melisa Kerr shared that she learned many invaluable lessons during her trip especially the art of patience, acceptance of change, and letting go. “I now feel spiritually filled and I’m definitely on a better path in becoming more of a dynamic Catholic. I look forward to going to the next WYD in Portugal to make more awesome memories,” Kerr said.
Jamaica pilgrim leader, Andrea Wray said WYD was her most difficult pilgrimage to date. Wray added that though her initial feeling was that this year’s WYD would be her last experience, she’s changed her mind.
“…When I thought about how Jesus suffered and died, and that He didn’t have to do it, but chose to do it out of love for us, I had a change of heart. Pilgrimages are supposed to strengthen your relationship and dependency on God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This happened to me and I am better for it,” she said.
She maintained that in spite of her trials and tribulations, she learned three valuable lessons—respond with love, in love, in spite of everything; humility is a characteristic that is necessary to successfully execute God’s work; and see the forest instead of focusing on a few trees.