by: Antonius Daril Otan Apelabi
Father Pawel Chodak, our experiment leader
The whole journey to Poland for Magis and WYD events was beyond my expectations. It was my first time to be a pilgrim and met the other youths from all over the world. When I decided to take part in Magis Poland, I had no idea what I would experience. I thought it would be hard and I felt a bit frightened, but at the same time, I was very excited. I was worried it would cost me a lot and I did not expect comfort or easy time. Bottom line, I expected the worse things to happen. In the end, as I reflected on the whole experiences, I realized that God had been listening and answering my prayers. All the fears and worries did not happen and I really thanked my God for the fruitful and wonderful experiences.
I went to Poland together with Magis Indonesia friends. My experiment – Social and Dialog Culture – was at Szczecin. Me and Bayu (Magis Yogya) stayed at Mrs. Irena’s place for a week. She had two children, a son and a daughter, around my age. But she lived alone and couldn’t speak a bit of English. At first it was hard for us to communicate but she was really kind and welcoming us. I really could feel her compassion toward us, stranger from the other world. She treated Bayu and I like her own sons. We could eat everything in her house. She cooked the Polish foods for us. She even offered to wash our clothes. She was willing to share things she had with us.
With Mrs. Irena, my host family in Szczecin
In Szczecin, I faced a different kind of Catholic traditions. I live in Indonesia, where Catholics are minority. It amazed me how Szczecin people hold the catholic traditions. For example, they confessed their sins regularly and wouldn’t receive the body of Christ whenever they feel unworthy. Meanwhile I only confess twice a year, on Christmas and Easter. These differences made me realize that I wasn’t really aware of the importance of practicing the Catholic traditions in daily life. I also learned that we had different kind of way on offering sign of peace. In Indonesia, we usually do the handshake, but the Polish hugs each other. It’s interesting to know that each of us has different kind of tradition but were united in faith. We came from different culture and nations yet when we had the mass together; we knew that God has united us. We speak different languages, yet we are all able to connect in prayer. We are all the children of God.
After all the experiences in Poland, I realize how important it is to maintain the prayer time in daily life. I used to pray half-heartedly and only when I was in trouble or when I need God to do something for me. I tend to ask than to listen. Learning from the Polish and other youths from the other country, I would like to pray more wholeheartedly and try to do it more often. I realized prayer is the root of my faith.
The WYD themes itself – to Give and not to count the cost – had taught me a lot. I would like to implement it in my daily life. I would like to be able to give more wholeheartedly for the others. It is a reflection of my faith that God will always provide me beyond my expectations. Magis & WYD experiences had strengthened me to have more faith in God’s presence. I am thankful and grateful for that.
“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will get a knock and it will be opened to you” – Matthew 7:7.
Different countries, different languages, but one faith
Indonesian delegates in Magis Poland kick-off
Festival of Nations