by Katie Hyde
Special to The Leaven
We’d been warned that this was going to be a pilgrimage, not a vacation.
But the point was first graphically illustrated when an already bumpy flight hit some serious turbulence on our flight from Washington, D.C., to Newark, New Jersey, and multiple travelers had to reach for those much-maligned but aptly named air sickness bags.
No, this wasn’t your typical summer vacation. It wasn’t a cold drink on the beach.
It was World Youth Day 2016.
“If it’s anything but utter chaos, we’re good,” said Rick Cheek, archdiocesan consultant for evangelization and Catholic formation of youth, who led the delegation to Krakow, Poland. This is his fourth time attending a World Youth Day.
And near chaos seemed a distinct possibility, especially with this group. At 108 pilgrims, this year’s delegation from the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas was nearly double the number of travelers from years past.
Why was there so much interest in this pilgrimage?
“It’s Saint JPII,” explained Cheek. “It’s Krakow. It’s Poland. It’s Karol Wojtyla.”