Universality, Unity and Inspiration were three values that the WYD assistant Eros Shaw found in his trip to Polland.
By Eros Shaw – Chinese missionary, activist of the Chinese Catholic LGBTQ Group China Catholic Rainbow Community (CCRC), GNRC Steering Committee member and participant of the China Rainbow Witness Fellowship.
I participated in the World Youth Day from its beginning and till its end, including all the preparatory activities during the previous week, from July 19th – 31st in Warsaw. Considering that this was my first WYD, there were a few points that had a profound impression on me.
- The first one was the Universality of the Church/ Let´s remember that this is the original meaning of the word Catholic, where so many young people from different nations gathered in one place with no boundaries of race, gender or sexual orientation! About 1.5 million people attended the Pope Francis’ closing mass, according to the Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, so I couldn’t stop wondering how many LGBT people were among them.
- The second point was Unity. Many of the assistants came from countries or regions with internal/external geopolitical conflicts, but the Catholic young people gathered there shared in the basis of a common faith and prayer. This is the thing that touched me the most. I´m a young pilgrim from mainland China, but I had the great chance to spend time with brothers and sisters from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
- The third and last one was how Inspirational it was for me was to meet so much people expressing their love for God, their devotion for the Virgin Mary and respect for the Pope. In China, we Catholics, are a minority compared to the other Christian churches or religious practices, and so I often hear criticism and negative voices about us. The fraternity in Krakow fueled my beliefs for my personal mission, with so many lovely, young people united and on the same path.
I also participated in a LGBT friendly Café, organized by Wiara I Tecza, with Michael Brinkschroeder and Anna Kuliberda from Germany. There we shared the experiences of our LGBT Catholic local communities which was followed by a panel discussion. Even with so many people visiting Krakow we only had 20 assistants, many of them bravely carrying their WYD backpacks. This is a reminder of how much work we still have to do for Visibility and Inclusion of LGBTI people in the Church. I had a Gay Catholic friend from Hong Kong in the WYD that couldn’t join us because he was afraid of the exposure. Anyway, having had such a amazing opportunity to participate makes me feel really grateful.
For further information of the Climate around LGBT in the Polish Church, read Marcin Dzierżanowski´s Article. For An alternative perspective about the experience of the LGBT Pilgrim’s Haven activities, read Michael Brinkschroeder´s Article.
China Catholic Rainbow Community (CCRC) in an inter-regional mutual aid organization for Chinese Roman Catholic LGBT people. They provide counseling and spiritual companionship for LGBT Catholic believers.
China Rainbow Witness Fellowship (CRWF) is a LGBT Christian fellowship grounded in love and faith. The fellowship was established in 2009 in Beijing, with further groups established in Shangai and Hangzhou.