WYD: Celebrating the vocation of marriage

July 30, 2016

by Seth and Mary Sojka

Ever think of spending your honeymoon sleeping in a field with 1.5 million people? Romantic, right? Well, we suppose that depends on your definition of romantic.

newly marriedWorld Youth Day 2016

With our Nuptial Mass earlier this month, we have now spent half of our married lives with a mass of pilgrims trekking across Poland to enrich, share, and experience our Catholic faith on a global level. The first week was spent in Warsaw, touring the city and living in the home of our host family. 

WYD Poland chapel

The second week has been centered around Kraków, attending the more formal Word Youth Day activities; lots of walking, following the map, and looking for points of interest (a cathedral here, relics of St. John Paul the Great there, the Devine Mercy Chapel over there). Sound like the Catholic version of Pokemon Go?

  candlelit adoration

Getting back to that definition of romantic, the last two days consisted of a 15 mile trek (thankfully 10 miles of that was on a bus), construction of a rain poncho city, passing time with games, meeting Catholic youth from around the world, an overnight vigil and camp out, and celebrating Mass with the Pope and 3 million people. Think Woodstock meets Iowa State Fair, but with a spiritual twist. Somewhere in there you can insert your definition of romance. For us, it was a once in a lifetime experience of the common beliefs and threads that bond people together. 

No matter the country of origin, the universal Catholic Church allows us to all speak the same language. Experiencing this first hand adds so much dimension to our faith, knowing that there are many people pulling together in the same direction. In the middle of this experience, it is easy to get caught up in the physical challenges.

Reflecting back on it though, we understand that the experience was so much more than the physical and spiritual. We found two people can grow closer together in the midst of so many. We also learned more about each others spiritualities: we both agree seclusion and quiet prayer is a wonderful gift from heaven.

pray together, stay together

A few closing words of wisdom for sleeping in a field with 1.5 million people (in no particular order): bring sunscreen, bring extra toilet paper, expect long lines for everything, claim your ground early, bring ear plugs, the port-a-pots are empty at 1:30 am, microchip your spouse, bring a flash light, be friendly, bring a chair, don't do a rain dance, pray. For the record, we this was not our actual honeymoon (but a close 2nd)!