by Katie Hyde
Special to The Leaven
As an Eagle Scout, former member of the Kansas Army National Guard, and fourth-year college seminarian for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Ben Rogers knows a thing or two about being prepared.
His physical and spiritual preparations for World Youth Day took a unique form: designing and crafting a leather backpack by hand, which he then carried throughout his pilgrimage to Krakow.
During Lent, Rogers spent roughly 120 hours building that backpack that, according to his detailed research, can be taken as a carry-on bag anywhere in the world except Japan.
As Rogers drafted sketches of the bag, selected the materials and sewed the leather panels together, he prayed for World Youth Day and the pilgrims who would be attending it from the archdiocese.
In reflecting upon the pilgrimage shortly before his return to the United States, Rogers was full of gratitude for the people of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
“My pilgrimage was supported in so many ways by the people of the archdiocese,” he said. “I am eternally grateful for all the help they gave to the seminarians in prayers and financially. I carried them with me in all of my prayers.”
Upon returning to America, Rogers is even more inspired by his experiences in Krakow to serve the Catholics of northeast Kansas.
“The faith of the youth of KCK and around the world was inspiring,” said Rogers. “It makes me want to work even harder in formation to be an even better seminarian for them. The vastness of Polish Catholic history cannot do anything but make me try harder.”