St. Patrick students travel to Poland for World Youth Day

Over the summer, nearly three million young Catholics from around the world travelled to Kraków, Poland to participate in a week of festivities and worship with the Pope. Among those 3 million young people were eight of our own St. Patrick students along with some of their parents and St. Patrick alumni. Our students travelled to Kraków in a group of 49 teenagers and adults from the Diocese of Biloxi. Father Adam Urbaniak, a Polish priest from Our Lady of the Gulf Parish in Bay St. Louis, was the head chaperone and coordinator of the trip.

Because of Father Adam’s familiarity with Poland, the teenagers got to experience much more than just the week of festivities with the Pope in Kraków. With 11 days to explore, the group was able to do an incredible number of things such as spend two nights with a Polish host family in the historic town of Gniezno, visit the shrine of the Black Madonna in Częstochowa, spend time in Pope John Paul II’s home town and parish of Wadowicki, stay in the beautiful mountain town of Zakopane, visit Auschwitz concentration camp, and much, much more. Out of everything they did, senior Laurie Pisciotta said, “My favorite part of the trip was staying with a Polish family and making friends from a different country. It was awesome to be immersed in the Polish culture.”

The teens had many amazing experiences during their activities with the Pope as well. Senior Taylor Smith said, “I will never forget our opening session with the Pope. All of the countries in the crowd linked arms and we all sang together. It was an amazing sight.” Senior Sarah Pleasant also commented on her experience at the festivities, “It was exciting to see so many young, enthusiastic Catholics from all around the world. Talking to people my age that were strong in their faith inspired me to deepen my own faith.” The group was also able to take part in adoration with Pope Francis and the 3 million other pilgrims in a field outside of Kraków, and then camp out later that night in order to attend the closing mass with the Pope in the morning.

Seeing so many young Catholics coming together to express their love for their faith is a once in a lifetime experience. The St. Patrick students who attended World Youth Day, as well as everyone else from all over the world, have made memories and friends they are sure they will never forget. If you see any of them around school be sure to ask them about their experience!

Story by Jeanne Torp