Meeting with Chemin Neuf in Lodz before World Youth Day

Phil and Fr David concluded their quick trip to Poland by visiting Lodz, where Westminster will be staying for the week before Krakow!

Phil and Fr David with the Chemin Neuf community in Lodz, ahead of the Paradise in the City festival
Phil and Fr David with the Chemin Neuf community in Lodz, ahead of the Paradise in the City festival

Fr David and I headed from Krakow to Lodz by car and much of the journey was in the rain and of course on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. A solid three hour evening road-trip after a long and fruitful day made for a couple of pretty tired chaps!

On Tuesday morning we had another hectic day which started with a visit to meet Fr Arnaud and the Chemin Neuf WYD Team.

Chemin Neuf are based in a large house in the suburbs of the city and the scale of the operation behind the Paradise in the City festival was pretty impressive.

Chemin Neuf expect close to 8,000 young people at their festival and we’ll be there too!

We met all his team and took time to celebrate Mass with them; Fr David led Mass.

Lunch with the team was an opportunity to chat through a number of operational matters and understand the development of the Chemin Neuf community and the work that has gone into the festival.

After meeting Fr Arnaud we headed into the city to remind ourselves of the location of the key event sites – especially the Cathedral and our WYD accommodation. Everything is very close to each other, so this will make life very easy for us.

The afternoon involved a visit to the British Consul and this allowed us to talk about the scale of our operation and provide them with key information – always better to be safe than sorry!

The 'Space Age' crypt at Lodz Cathedral
The ‘Space Age’ crypt at Lodz Cathedral

On Wednesday we met Fr Lukas, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Lodz, and Sr Mary, one of the secretaries to the Archbishop of Lodz. Both Fr Lukas and Sr Mary have been working closely with Chemin Neuf and they are very much looking forward to welcoming our group to Lodz.

During our time with Fr Lukas we visited the crypt in Lodz Cathedral and watched a wonderful film on Saint Faustina; we hope that our group will be able to watch the film during our time in Lodz. The crypt is remarkable and pretty ‘space-age’, and I hope our photo gives the space it’s true justice.

On Wednesday afternoon we flew home; excited about the connections we have made but weary in a nice way!