By Anahi Perez Faz
Special to The Texas Catholic
Offering praise for helping to keep faith alive, Bishop Kevin J. Farrell offered a blessing June 25 at Nuestra Señora Del Pilar Catholic Church to young adults traveling to Poland for World Youth Day.
“It fills me with particular joy the fact that so many of you will travel to Krakow,” said Bishop Farrell, addressing a group during the special service. “The fact is that the faith is alive. It is just asleep in the hearts of so many people. World Youth Day is a great awakening for each one of you.”
About 300 people from the Diocese of Dallas will make the pilgrimage to Krakow on July 25-31.
Bishop Farrell extended his hands over the pilgrims’ heads to bless each one. Families joined in prayer for their children and members as they kneeled in front of the bishop.
Eli De Lira, a parishioner at St. Augustine Catholic Church, attended World Youth Day in 2008 and 2011 and said he hopes this year’s encounter with Pope Francis and other Catholics will again strengthen his faith.
“Each time, the pilgrimage builds upon its importance to me,” De Lira said. “The first time I went, I was 15 and now I am 23. It’s a perfect time to go because it will help me grow up spiritually.”
Making the trek to Poland is expensive, prompting many of those planning to attend to host fundraisers to cover expenses.
Elizabeth Silva and her family sold meals to help raise money for her third pilgrimage with Nuestra Señora Del Pilar Catholic Church.
“We sold enchiladas and tacos on Sundays and sometimes on Thursdays,” Silva said. “My parents have been really supportive.”
For Evelyn Solorzano, making the pilgrimage, Poland opens the door to travel outside of the U.S. for the first time since arriving from Mexico as a child.
“I am really looking forward to this experience,” Solorzano said, “because, as a Christian, it is always good to have an encounter with God.”
Neocatechumens from Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Church in Oak Cliff, Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Garland, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Grand Prairie, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Corsicana and St. Augustine Catholic Church will join the Nuestra Señora Del Pilar group in traveling to Krakow where Catholics from all over the world will participate in a week of activities and worship with Pope Francis.
“When we see you, our faith is also renewed by the fact that we see so many young people committed to listening to the word of God and to live it,” Bishop Farrell said.