At the July 24th, 10 am Sunday Mass Fr. Stephen Saffron blessed our two young parishioners, Philip Apilan and Jack Foppiani, who will be joining Fr. Stephen and the more than 400 pilgrims from the Diocese of Brooklyn for World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland from July 25th – August 4th.
Before conducting the Blessing, Fr. Saffron spoke about the history and significance of the World Youth Day Pilgrimage. He noted that Saint Pope John Paul II initiated World Youth Day in 1985 and in1986 asked bishops around the world to schedule an annual youth event on Palm Sunday in their dioceses. Today, World Youth Day is celebrated annually in Rome on Palm Sunday and with special gatherings every 2 or 3 years. The first worldwide celebration of World Youth Day was at Buenos Aires in 1987. Fr. Saffron has been fortunate to have attended two World Youth Day events in Denver (1993) and Manila (1995).
Saint Anselm’s parish began planning for the pilgrimage in the summer of 2015, which culminated in an October Doo Wop fundraiser Concert that was held in Meletia Hall. Funds were raised through parishioners and businesses to send Philip and Jack, on the pilgrimage, helping to pay for half of their expenses and those of Fr. Saffron.
The Diocese of Brooklyn is sending over 400 pilgrims to Krakow – the largest diocesan group to attend this year’s event.At a gathering of the pilgrims at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish on Sunday, July 17th, Bishop DiMarzio reminded the young people that the trip is a pilgrimage and encouraged them to travel light and to stay focused on the purpose of the journey.Fr. Saffron spoke about the need to encourage young people to make a commitment of service to Christ and the Church – and that World Youth Day was a wonderful opportunity to develop that commitment.
Father Saffron urged parishioners to join spiritually in the pilgrimage. He noted that a Shine to Our Lady of Czestochowahas been created at the front of the church. The icon of Our Lady, from Fr. Saffron’s room in the rectory, will be in the church for prayer and veneration while the pilgrimage is in progress. Parishioners were invited to place petitions at the Shrine or in the rectory mail slot and Fr. Saffron will bring them to the Monastery of Jasna Gora at Czestochowa and place them at the Shrine of the Black Madonna. Father Saffron noted that as this was the “Year of Mercy”, the theme of the pilgrimage was Divine Mercy. He encouraged parishioners to pray at the church’s image of Divine Mercy the prayer – “Lord Jesus, I trust in you”, a devotion revealed to Saint Faustian Kowalski by Jesus, and to pray at the shrine of Saint John Paul II in the Saints Chapel.
Observing that he was called “Father”, Fr. Saffron remarked that he was happy that for the next ten days he would be a “father” to two fine young men. Father concluded his comments by saying, “Pray for us and we will pray for you.”
Father Saffron then came down from the sanctuary and read the blessing. Noting that it was customary for pilgrims to World Youth Day to wear something symbolizing their nation or city, he presented Jack and Philip with USA and Brooklyn baseball caps as well as rosary beads. The two young men then posed happily, wearing their caps, with Fr. Saffron and family.
In addition to the World Youth Day celebrations in the ancient and beautiful city of Krakow, the pilgrims will visit Warsaw, the Monastery of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa and the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. We wish Fr. Saffron, Jack and Philip a “Blessed Pilgrimage” and pray that they, and all the pilgrims, return home safely to their families, friends and parish family.
All the Best,
The St. Anselm Publicity Committee