08/06/2016, 16.06
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"The spirit of World Youth Day does not end": the return home of young Pakistanis

by Kamran Chaudhry

On 2 September, WYD participants will share their experience with their peers in Faisalabad. Haroon Tariq, 19, spoke about how the trip changed his life, struck by how strangers and foreigners treated him. "The young people guided me as if we were old friends,” united by Christ.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Back from World Youth Day in Krakow, Pakistani youth are ready to spread Pope Francis’ message of mercy to the country.

A meeting of Pakistani youth is planned for 2 September in Faisalabad, where people will share stories of their journey with their peers. On that occasion, youth ministry committees will hold national consultations.

"The spirit of WYD will remain,” said Pervez Roderick, secretary of the National Youth Ministry Committee. “With the new perspectives that they have made their own, the representatives of each diocese will be able to share their thoughts on mercy with young people from all over Pakistan. "

Roderick spoke happily about the days spent in Poland with the Pakistani delegation. "Our group had the privilege of participating in all activities, including the welcoming ceremony, catechism classes, the Via Crucis, the Saturday night vigil and the final mass."

Event organisers made sure that "the Pakistan delegation was always visible in the front row close to Pope Francis. We thank them very much for giving a positive image to our war-haunted country.

“Mgr Sebastian Shah, archbishop of Lahore, was able to speak of the situation of the Church in Pakistan in a Polish church."

Led by Roderick, the Pakistani delegation returned home on Thursday. According to the secretary, waiting for the papal Mass with people from 110 countries of the world was the highlight of World Youth Day.

For Haroon Tariq, 19, the trip to Poland and meeting other young people were important to him. "One night we were having dinner and a girl asked me when in my life I said yes to Jesus. I have always gone to Mass on Sundays, but I had never thought about it. Thinking about it moved me, especially during the vigil, when I came before Jesus."

Tariq, who belongs to the Focolare Movement, was struck by how strangers and foreigners treated him at World Youth Day. "The young people guided me as if we were old friends. I could feel the presence of Jesus; we were all together."

The mercy experienced in Poland, he added, "can do wonders in Pakistan, which is going through many challenges. From now on I want to commit myself to showing the merciful face of Christians to the sick and the elderly."

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