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Lednica, one hundred thousand youths come together “to say Yes to the Lord”

The traditional gathering in the Polish city will take place June 2. Participants will be arriving from European and extra-European Countries. Msgr. Gadecki, President of Polish bishops: “youths full of energy, of joy, singing and praying.” The event will mark the centenary of the east-European Country’s independence

On Saturday June 2 thousands of Polish youths along with their peers from Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Brazil, and from many more Countries will convene in the large esplanade in the area of Lednica, not far from the city of Poznan. Together, they will say “Yes” to the Lord. The slogan of the meeting and prayer vigil organized for the 22nd year, is “I am”, recurring in many passages of the Bible, representing – as underlined by the organizers of the event – an encapsulation of the phrase from “Gaudium et spes”: “man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of”, repeated by John Paul II on several occasions.

“Captivating event.” On the occasion of the meeting in Lednica, SIR asked the President of Polish Bishops Mons. Stanislaw Gadecki, archbishop of Poznan, to share his view of Polish Catholic youths. “I think we wished that all youths were like those I have seen in Lednica: full of energy, singing and praying together”, the prelate replied. He added: “I also believe that the meeting organized every year in Lednica can bring youths at a higher level, propounding ideals that are usually present in the hearts of all youths but which are often overshadowed by our contemporary culture and by the focus on material things, which ultimately stifle the aspirations and charisms of every human being.”

“That’s precisely why Lednica has a symbolical bearing”, Msgr. Gadecki pointed out. “Lednica welcomes European youths and I think that just as they participate in the Taize meetings they should also come to Lednica: an exceptional, captivating event.”

The centenary of Independence. Presenting the event, the secretary of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Msgr. Artur Mizinski, highlighted a specific dimension of this year’s gathering, marking the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence, in what is believed to be the place where the first Polish monarch, Mieszko I was baptized in 966.

“A prayer of thanks to God for having given Poland the past 100 years of independence is scheduled to take place during the Lednica gathering”,

said Msgr. Mizinski. The prelate pointed out that young people “wish to express their gratitude along with their willingness to contribute to building the present and the future of the Country, a future that is in their own hands.” On the occasion of the centenary of Polish Independence celebrations the President of the Republic Andrzej Duda, who announced his intention to take part in the meeting, will hand out the national flag to participants. According to the event’s program with a parachute jump an aviation officer will bring a copy of the oldest Marian hymn in Polish to the altar.

A special gift. Dominican Father Wojciech Prus, coordinator of the meeting, told SIR that participants will be given a small mirror bearing an image of Jesus so that, “as they extend their gaze to the Lord they may also see their eyes reflected and thus realize the extent to which every human being is precious in the eyes of God.”

Inner quest. “It can be said that this year’s meeting will be a inner journey undertaken by every participant, a research for one’s “self”, since only those who grasp the greatness of the gift of life are able to transmit their awe to others”, said Dominican Father Mateusz Kosior, co-coordinator of the event.

“Young people have told us that they are called to face many challenges and that they often feel that they cannot rise to the challenge”;

“this is precisely the reason for this year’s meeting in Lednica: we want to share the freely-bestowed love poured out within our hearts by the Lord our Creator.”

Love of neighbour. As explained by Father Prus, to make explicit the community- aspect of the meeting in Lednica, organizers have decided to make a highly symbolical gesture, “perfectly rendered by Jean Vanier in the book ‘The Scandal of Service: Jesus Washes Our Feet’. A small bottle of water, a napkin bearing the image of the fish as was depicted by the early Christians, symbolizing the Lednica meeting, will be distributed to participants inviting them to wash each other’s feet, so as to bear concrete witness to the love of neighbour.”

Open doors. When asked about the number of expected participants Dominika Chylewska, in charge of the meeting’s press office, answered with a smile: “Last year’s meeting in Lednica was attended by over 100 thousand youths, we expect them to arrive in larger numbers this year”, adding that the meeting – from  Saturday morning at 8 am until after Midnight – “is open to everyone, not only to registered participants.”

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