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WYD 2016 Prayer Vigil and Concert

Posted on Aug 1, 2016 in DeSales Blog

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 2.38.24 PMOn Saturday, July 30, Pope Francis attended the World Youth Day Prayer Vigil at the Campus Misercordiae outside Krakow. The vigil included prayer, a massive altar, and five live dance performances; a description of the event is below.  Watch the dance performances here.

The prayer vigil will take place between Krakow and Wieliczka, at the field which has already been named Campus Misericordiae. The name of this place is very significant: it was named by the people who prepared this area for the meeting that will take place between the youth and the Holy Father. They have built a house here for those who suffer which will remain as a testimony of faith as a result of this encounter.

The practice of keeping the vigil is firmly rooted in the Christian tradition. It is meant to be a time of prayer, meditation and singing. The Sacrament of the Eucharist will be celebrated the next morning, and the whole vigil is meant to lead up to this.

The content of Saturday’s vigil refers directly to the WYD 2016 prayer. The prayer will be accompanied by testimonies of those who have regained their hope by the grace of God.

The vigil opens with the Pope’s passage through the Gate of Mercy. He will be accompanied by representatives of all continents. The Gate of Mercy is near the Campus Misericordiae altar.

Traditionally, the focal point of the vigil is adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, an act of faith and a touch of mercy. Meditations and songs will prepare pilgrims for adoration. Silent prayer while kneeling and singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet will follow.

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will take place on the “Light of Reconciliation and Peace” altar, dedicated to the Shrine of the Mother of the Word in Kibeho, Rawanda – where a new international center of prayer for peace will be established soon.

The Altar

Sun_long altar shotThe Altar was made in Gdansk by “Drapikowski Studio” and has a rich religious symbolism. The Altar is 93 meters long by 50 meters wide. The entire construction, together with the side stages, totals an area measuring 175m by 57m. The altar is divided into four levels, rises 8.5m from the ground level, and the cross itself is 28m tall.

When open, the centre of the altar is the Eucharist, Jesus under the heart of Mary. Jesus is the Light of the world who enlightens every man (cf. St. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, no. 1). Mary is represented as a bush of Moses. Mary is burning with the fire of God’s love. Her dress of silver flowers refers to the visions of the Mother of God in Kibeho.

The Mysteries of the Rosary and the 7 Sorrows of Mary are portrayed through scenes on the wings of the Triptych.

When closed, the altar shows the form of the two Apostles of Divine Mercy: St. Pope John Paul II and St. Sister Faustina.

The vigil will end with a prayer to the Virgin Mary. As happened during World Youth Day in Czestochowa, 1991, there will be the Plea to Jasna Gora sung in Latin.

The Holy Father arrives by car to the Gate of Mercy. Together with representatives of the six continents, the Pope passes through it and goes to the altar.

The way to Jesus”

The vigil’s theme is based on the WYD Prayer:

1. Faith for those who doubt

Sat_dancing_endThe scene is a typical modern disco with 20 people. Choreography and acting will manifest the typical behavioral patterns which are sociological phenomena of modern civilization.

• Description of the scene: The scene seeks to capture the calling of Elena Kowalska (the future Sister Faustina), which took place during a local party in her own village.

You can hear the music gradually increasing. People dance in a multitude, each according to their corresponding tradition and custom. Others in the crowd will not be dancing, but standing against the wall and talking to each other in a characteristic way – quarrelling, flirting, laughing, etc. Among the crowd of youth, there is a young girl who stops dancing. At the same time, the music is muted and the figure of a girl, standing in the foreground, slowly predominates the stage. Instead, the sight of the dancing young people fades, like a movie on slow motion. The techno music dies away entirely and is replaced by other music, setting a more calm and peaceful tone. The girl – Faustina – looks into the distance beyond.

At this point, the scene stops and the first witness appears – Natalia Wrzesien [pronunciation Vshesien] – to give her testimony. Afterwards, Faustina begins to sing and to wrap a black scarf on her head.

As the song continues, the first part of the painted image of the Merciful Jesus appears, which will be repeated through the scenes. People sing “Jesus, I trust in you” in the same form as the other stations. At the end, Faustina sets out on the road, and the figure of a young man with a WYD backpack (symbolizing a WYD pilgrim in search of truth) follows her.

Sat_woman dancer glass door2. Hope for those who are resigned

This scene attempts to capture the attitude of youth toward the sufferings inflicted by death and war. The life which the Lord gives us is the most precious gift we could receive. That is the reason why we protest against the atrocities of war, grieve over the loss of a relative.

• Scene’s Description
After a film depicting violence, a dramatic performance by seven dancers will follow. Each dancer will begin their individual part expressing great pain, and conveying the tragedy of losing loved ones. Simultaneously, the dancers will portray acts of opposition to acts of war and terror. The dancers will represent the seven continents: Asian, African, European, etc.

• Context of the Scene
Faustina and the wanderer come forward. The large screen begins to play scenes from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, New York, and Paris 2015, war scenes from Iraq and Syria etc. Next, six people (representing the continents) scream the word “NO” in different languages: German, English, Spanish, Chinese etc. During the dance, Faustina accepts parts of her religious habit and the cross. This is followed by a second testimony – Rand Mittri (Syria, in English). After the testimony, Faustina begins to sing: the next part of the painted image appears on the screen. At that time, one of the dancers approaches Faustina, then takes a WYD backpack and follows her.

3. Love to those who are tepid

The theme of this scene is the problem of modern civilization, closed in cyberspace. Young people lost in modern technology, locked inside themselves, alienated, and lonely in the network.

• Description of the scene
Transparent walls of plexiglass symbolize isolation from the world. Behind each of them stands a motionless figure of a young man gazing at a multimedia device, smartphone or tablet. One of the travellers tries to make contact with them without success.

• Description of the situation
Dance performanceThe traveller enters between the glass walls, trying to speak to each of them. She starts to dance, seeking contact, but is unsuccessful. Finally, one boy notices the girl, and pulls back the wall and goes out to her. They start to dance together. The girl gives the boy a backpack while approaching Faustina. At this point, the scene stops, and is followed by the second testimony. Then, Faustina begins to sing. The image of Jesus appears on the screen, followed by a prayer, the song “Jesus, I trust in you” in the same form as the previous stations. Faustina follows the group to the next scene.

4. Forgiveness to those who are guilty
The theme of the scene is the forgiveness of neighbors, the rejection of evil and reconciliation.

• Description of the scene
As Faustina and the travelers reach this scene, we see the figure of Saint John Paul II, seated with his back to the audience. A man walks up to the Pope, Ali Agca. There is ongoing conversation and background music. After a moment, they both stand up. The man kisses the Pope’s hand, and the Pope hugs him.

• Description of the situation
The actor playing the Pope is already on the scene before a group of travelers reach it. The sequence of forgiveness begins with a short film about the assassination attempt of John Paul II (St. Peter’s Square, 13 May 1981). Ali Agca is accompanied by a police officer on the right side of the stage, and a symbol of prison. After the scene of forgiveness, the Pope remains in place while Ali goes back. Faustina sings, continuing to paint the penultimate part of the image of Jesus. This is followed by a prayer, the song “Jesus, I trust in you” as in the previous scene.

5. Joy to those who are sad

The theme of the scene is the grief that results from problems, addictions and the monotony of life in today’s world. Joy is the cure to these difficulties.

• Description of the scene
Sat_dancing_basketballFaustina reaches the scene with a group of hikers. It is a street corner and a square with a gathering of young people from the margins of society.

• Description of the situation
One of the hikers enters into the group of young people, but he is not welcomed there. However, the traveler begins to play basketball with them. The rhythmic bounce of the ball begins to turn into a typical Hip-Hop dance, capoeira, break dance, etc. Then, a third witness appears, Miguel from Asuncion (Paraguay, in Spanish). Faustina begins to sing and looks at the last sequence of painting of the picture of Jesus. When the painting is finished, it is followed by the song “Jesus, I trust in you.”

Choreographer and Dancers

The scenes are adapted by Miroslaw Kister (choreographer) and Krzysztof Perch (director) of the dance theatre of acrobatics MIRA – ART.

The dancers of Mira – Art, are joined by the Music Theatre in Gdynia and the Baltic Dance Theatre of Gdansk.

Acrobatic Dance Theatre Mira-Art is a professional team of artists and creators, who have been looking for passionate new means of artistic expression since 1999. They combine ballet with air acrobatics, music, costume and lighting to create fantastic shows and dance performances of aerial dance.

The founders of Mira Art are: Miroslaw Kister, Krzysztof Perch, Marta Koczkowska.

Faustina is Ewa Kłosowicz [pronunciation Eva Kwosovich] of Musical Theatre in Gdynia.

Music by the promising young composer, arranger and actor Artur Guz.

Read the full text of Pope Francis’ Homily at the Closing Mass and his Homily from this Prayer Vigil.

(Source of vigil information:  Photos: NET TV livestream of event.)