The Community of the Cross of Nails (CCN) Youth Gathering in late July/early August brought together an incredibly diverse group — 20+ languages spoken from pilgrims from South Africa, Germany, Austria, Poland, Mauritius, India, England, Scotland, and myself from the USA.
Throughout the week we learned that we are all called to be reconcilers in Christ and we all respond to this call of reconciliation in different ways; as we each hear it differently based on our life experience and personal contexts, we all respond differently. In a world of war and at a time when it can easily feel there is no hope, this opportunity to learn from others around the world showed me there is hope — hope that we can all be ambassadors for reconciliation and share what we learned with people in our own contexts.
We were on a pilgrimage together and asked tough questions such as: Can we forgive when there is no repentance? Who has the power — the perpetrator or the victim? Is it possible to have peace without repentance? I was moved by everyone’s willingness to share, their respect for each other’s experiences and emotions, their desire to actively listen, and for the many moments of joy and laughter we shared despite these difficult conversations.
We were shown how reconciliation is like a dance around a table, though our perspectives and contexts change, we are all still united by what stands in the center. As Pope Francis once said, “Unity is when we all agree to walk the way together”, and even when it is hard, that we stand together.
There was no better place to be than the Coventry ruins and new Cathedral. Every day at 12pm noon, we would gather in the new cathedral. One of my favorite moments was standing in the ruins to pray the Litany of Reconciliation one last time together with my new friends from around the world. An incredible way to gather and remind ourselves why we are here — to respond to the call of reconciliation.
I believe I can speak for the group in saying we learned more than we ever thought possible in our short six days together. I am very thankful to my new friends around the world, to Coventry Cathedral and the Reconciliation Team, and to the CCN for teaching me the guiding principles for reconciliation: working to heal the wounds of history, learning to live with difference and embracing diversity, and building a culture of peace.
Tim Wagner, currently an intern in Coventry, put together beautiful video diaries of the most important highlights from this conference. I quickly realized that we did so much in one day it was hard to take it all in. Thanks to Tim, we can look back on the week through this incredible video footage. I encourage you to click on these links to learn more about the CCN, Coventry’s Cathedral and ruins, and this international youth gathering. Enjoy the videos and pictures!
Thank you for reading! More updates on my departure to Puerto Rico on September 10th coming soon!
The Litany of Reconciliation: