Yes, World Youth Day is fast approaching! A daily check up in the morning to get your bag ready is a must during the week-long pilgrimage. You really do not want to waste a minute blaming yourself because you cannot shield yourself from the sun, or your dripping hair has got you a terrible headache.
What are your must-haves, then?
- Trainers. You may be you will be hosted by a family or camping in some Parishes, but we know the essence of WYD lies in the prayful, joyful, and long walk. Do not be caught out by foot ache in the middle of the road: be equipped with comfortable footwear.
- Umbrella / raincoat, or both. Either you will use the colourful raincoats provided with each Pilgrim’s kit, or bring an ‘in case of sun’ useful alternative umbrella, do not leave with zero protection from anything the Sky will send to the blessed pilgrims!
- Caps, hair bands, and sunglasses. We know you are craving some pure continental sun, but do not underestimate the possibility of sunstroke. We have just talked about rain protection, but, well, WYD is unique also for its unexpected mixed weather. Have a chat with the Madrid pilgrims who almost fainted during the hot day and then had a very rainy evening Adoration.
- Water, orange juice, and sugar. You will need them to keep refreshed and energized. Singing and shouting about how good is to be altogether is wonderful, but do not forget sweat and stress will accompany you, and it would be quite difficult to get you out of a crowded square if you suddenly feel feeble.
- Rosary. You are likely to find yourself within a long queue heading to the Shrine of Divine Mercy or to the Cathedral of Our Lady. Now imagine being all led by a single prayer: the Hail Mary beads paced by the steps of a long walk. That would be a path of mercy.
- Notebook, or a diary. You may have a ‘notes’ app on your phone, but remember: paper doesn’t need a plug – which may be difficult to find during the pilgrimage – and it would be a permanent memory of the reflections and prayers you would like to keep remembering at the end of the day. Do not forget to bring also a pen/pencil: in this old-fashion note-taking, you cannot really write with your fingertips.
- Layered clothing. A t-shirt will cool during a heat wave. And at least one jacket to keep you warm, for the cooler evenings. Or even better: a colourful jumper for the outdoor Vigil.
- Towel. Open-air events are really enjoyable at WYD, especially if you know after jumping and hugging friends you will have the chance to sit safe and sound on the ground, with no risk of getting wet, or even dirtier, or squash someone’s bag.
- Prayer book. There won’t be so much time to read – unless you are a group leader and need to figure out the route for the day after, in which case a Poland’s guidebook would be essential. But a prayer book can be really helpful when you find it difficult to concentrate or would like to look for the right words in a moment of silence.
- Big big smiles. Whether drenched in the rain, burnt by the sun, with panda eyes from the few hours of sleep, you will live a unique experience, with the @Pontifex in person and millions of people from every corner of the world. Bring an abundance amount of joy to share: you will return home with double of it!