Archbishop Kurtz serves as a catechist for ‘youth day’

World Youth Day pilgrims gathered on Krakow’s main square in Poland July 26 as the international gathering of Catholic young people opened. World Youth Day is set to continue through July 31. (CNS Photo by Jaclyn Lippelmann)

World Youth Day pilgrims gathered on Krakow’s main square in Poland July 26 as the international gathering of Catholic young people opened. World Youth Day is set to continue through July 31. (CNS Photo by Jaclyn Lippelmann)

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz hopes young pilgrims attending World Youth Day this week in Poland take to heart the fifth Beatitude in the Gospel of Matthew:

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

This beatitude is the theme for the 31st World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. And it is the centerpiece of the archbishop’s message there.

Archbishop Kurtz is one of 200 bishops from around the world designated to serve as catechists during the July 26-31 event.

The archbishop said in an interview last week that he hopes the international gathering of youth in Eastern Europe serves as a “true time of conversion” and as an “encounter with Jesus.”

Pilgrims, from left, Kristin Ballard, a parishioner of St. Luke Church; Rosa Luna, a parishioner of St. Rita Church; and Sister of the Fiat Caryn Crush, a teacher at Immaculata Classical Academy, spoke with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz July 27 at St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in Krakow, Poland, following the first session of catechesis at World Youth Day. Archbishop Kurtz is one of 200 bishops from around the world designated to serve as a catechist at the July 26-31 gathering. (Photo Special to The Record)

Pilgrims, from left, Kristin Ballard, a parishioner of St. Luke Church; Rosa Luna, a parishioner of St. Rita Church; and Sister of the Fiat Caryn Crush, a teacher at Immaculata Classical Academy, spoke with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz July 27 at St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in Krakow, Poland, following the first session of catechesis at World Youth Day. Archbishop Kurtz is one of 200 bishops from around the world designated to serve as a catechist at the July 26-31 gathering. (Photo Special to The Record)

Pilgrims from all over the world are gathering at different sites around the city this week to attend daily catechesis sessions presented in numerous languages.

Archbishop Kurtz is serving as a catechist for English-speaking youth at gatherings planned yesterday, today and tomorrow. He was also scheduled to celebrate Mass and preach in English on these days.

The catechesis sessions will last about 20 to 30 minutes and will be followed by a question and answer period, the archbishop said.

Archbishop Kurtz said he planned to talk about “the great gift of mercy and how, at the center of that, is Jesus — the face of God’s mercy.”

“I also hope to be able to talk about my own vocation story and ways in which I experience mercy so that I might lead the young people there, in
a special way, to receive mercy,” Archbishop Kurtz said.

The archbishop noted that the sacrament of reconciliation — which is available at numerous times and locations throughout the pilgrimage — is a “great gift of God’s mercy.”

Each of the catechesis sessions — which are meant to be conversational in tone — will have a theme, the archbishop said.

The first day’s theme is “Now is the time for mercy.” The second days’s topic is “Let us allow ourselves to be touched by God’s mercy.” And, the theme for the last catechesis session is “Lord, make me an instrument of your mercy.”

Archbishop Kurtz previously attended the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany. He said he was humbled to be invited to be a catechist at this year’s gathering.

He also said he’s looking forward to joining the Holy Father in prayer and hopes to visit a number of holy sites — including the birthplace of St. John Paul II and the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Pilgrims from St. Luke, St. Rita and St. Athanasius churches with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz July 27 at St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in Krakow, Poland, following the first session of catechesis at World Youth Day. Archbishop Kurtz is one of 200 bishops from around the world designated to serve as a catechist at the July 26-31 gathering. (Photo Special to The Record)

Pilgrims from St. Luke, St. Rita and St. Athanasius churches met with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz July 27 at St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in Krakow, Poland, following the first session of catechesis at World Youth Day. Archbishop Kurtz is one of 200 bishops from around the world designated to serve as a catechist at the July 26-31 gathering. (Photo Special to The Record)

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