"We consider this event a gift of Providence, which will help us to awaken religious attention among young people and in the environments in which they live: family, school, associations, movements, leisure facilities, etc. The period of preparation for WYD must be mainly a time of spiritual formation," says Bishop Muskus Damian, Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow and General Coordinator of the Organizing Committee for World Youth Day.
As part of this spiritual preparation in parishes throughout Poland, the project "Cz @ t ze Słowem" (Ch@t with God) will run for the third time to help young people learn more about the Scriptures and reflect on the Sunday Gospel. Young people, with the help of their parish priests, will attend meetings every month to discuss topics such as identity, family, dignity and friendship. In addition to these group meetings there will be weekly biblical meditations and video comments on the Sunday Gospel prepared by the young people themselves.
An essential element of spiritual preparation is also the monthly retreat on the theme "For us and for the whole world", which began in January at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Lagiewniki, in response to proclamation of the Holy Year of Mercy by Pope Francis.
The guiding theme of the exercises was taken from the prayer of the "Chaplet of Divine Mercy" and it is not by chance that the exercises take place at the shrine of Krakow-Lagiewniki, a world spiritual centre of this devotion. The exercises, which are broadcast over the Internet and translated into several languages, will continue until June, just before the start of World Youth Day.
"I hope that in this way the young people will learn how to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, says Bishop Muskus. I hope that through these exercises young people will create a community that goes beyond the borders of countries and come together around this Sanctuary. They really come as pilgrims "because, in fact, in July there will be a pilgrimage of mercy from the Shrine of St John Paul II to Krakow-Lagiewniki.
A useful instrument in this spiritual preparation will be the "z Tweetując Bogiem" application (tweeting with God), based on a book and the project of the Dutch priest Father Michel Remery. The application for smartphones and tablets (free download here) provides the texts of the Mass and prayers in different languages and 200 short questions and answers, so-called "tweets" on all the main themes of faith: God, creation, church, prayer, liturgy and Christian life ... which can act as a stimulus for joint reflection.