Pope Francis blessed the action ‘To dreams by bus’ and its participants

A yellow bus decorated with colourful emblems is arriving in the inner square in Vatican. It is being accompanied by surprised looks of guards who got used to the view of exclusive cars with diplomatic number plates. Whereas the vehicle presents a colourful map, the logo of the World Youth Days and images of pope Francis and St. John Paul II. Fr. Marcin Schmidt and Dawid Czermak are getting off the bus. They are waiting for the Holy Father who will go to the general audience in a moment. They hope that the Pope will stop by them, before he gets into the papamobile to go to the Square of St. Peter. And it happens so. The meeting lasts only a while. The Holy Father is blessing both pilgrims, and is also making a cross sign towards the bus. Before the farewell, Francis is asking with care, whether there would be enough place in Cracow to host the youth from all over the world. There can be only one answer.

Colours of dreams

Two months earlier I receive a message on Facebook: ‘A lot is happening! We have already 4 buses, 4 continents, a group of 130 people…Over 40 countries to visit and over 50 thousand km to travel! It is incredible ’ - writes Fr. Marcin Schmidt. It is my first experience with the project ‘To dreams by bus’. The initiative raises my interest at once, so I am asking about details. The priest explains that this action is not only promotion of World Youth Days, but also evangelization, animations, volunteerism …So as to be close to the man, regardless of his language, origin or religion. Four continents are four routes and colour of every of them corresponds to the colour of the bus assigned for it. The organization of this bold venture was undertaken by the youth from the Association ‘GPS Calvary’. The abbreviation from the Italian language means: Giovanni Paolo Secondo. Teaching of St. John Paul II is an indication of actions of those young people. The basic equipment of every bus are icons of Our Lady of Calvary sanctified by pope Francis.

A yellow side of mercifulness

The whole action is going to take place during holiday. The yellow bus is going to travel all over Europe – the same one which was in Vatican, and the youth delighted with the Pope are going to travel by it. I am asking during lunch what they particularly had remembered about their meeting with the Holy Father. They are willing to share their feelings. Francis recognized them among people gathered at the general audience: -Are they from the bus? – he asked seeing their characteristic yellow sweatshirts. Maciek and Iwona expressed him their gratitude by giving him alfajores biscuits – the treat of the Pope.

These two people will get on the bus, among the others, in order to travel to countries situated at the Black Sea and Baltic countries. As volunteers, they want to follow the blessing which the motto of the World Youth Days in Cracow: ‘The blessed merciful, as they will receive mercifulness’. They care only about particular deeds. Painting a catechesis room or working for the local hospital are only some of their ideas.

Missions in green colour

Whereas, the route of the green bus in South America is not going to be limited to the journey of the youth with the ‘GPS’ during their holiday – the action is going to last till July 2016, that is, till the World Youth Days in Cracow. The bus will travel across Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, a part of Peru and Brazil. The organization of the action was joined to by the Chillan diocese Valpariso, which perceived the bus as a great evangelization tool. This modern embassy on wheels is to get to every parish. Not only to promote the World Youth Days, but also to help in collecting funds for young people, whose dream is participation in this world meeting. Boys from the GPS Calvary’ and their American equivalents in Argentinian Tucuman and Chile are today announcing spectacular football matches which are going to be played within evangelization through sport. And what will happen with the green bus after the World Youth Days? As Fr. Schmidt explains, the vehicle will get to missions in Brazil.

The adventure is in red colour

At the end of the summer action, a group from South America will join the one with the bus of North and Central America. The red bus will go from a waterfall Niagara on the Canadian-American border to waterfalls Iguacu on the Brasilian-Argentinian border. The journey under the motto ‘Let’s discover America anew!’ will be not only an adventure in the geographical sense – it is also a chance to meet with the youth from poorer regions of Latin America.

- There are going to be promotion actions, schools, orphanages which require renovation – enumerates Wojtek Baś, the chief of the journey. However, it is necessary to buy paints, tools earlier, and even a vehicle by which they will travel 15 thousand kilometers . Coordination of such a big action would seem something unreal if it was not for the financial support from sponsors, ‘GPS’ hopes for the Polish Diaspora in Chicago, New York and Toronto where their adventure is going to begin.

A blue sign of peace

This venture also includes the Holy Land. The blue bus is going to set off with Palestinian youth. This time, not the ‘GPS’, but ‘JEC’. Another mysterious abbreviation, meaning people who are both young and engaged in creating a lively church. ‘JEC’ is nearly 3 thousand pupils and students from both the Greek-Catholic and Roman-Catholic Church. Those who are older, help the younger discover what real Christianity is. They are travelling across the Holy Land, bringing the message of peace. They also want to get to a camp of refugees from Syria. Jamil Khalil from Bethlehem tells me about this journey. The work with children for a 27-year-old teacher of physics is his whole life. In the ‘JEC’ he belongs to a group of people responsible for the youth pastoral ministry and formation of the youth. He arrived in Poland in order to meet with organizers of the ‘Bus of dreams’, because he coordinates preparations for the Palestinian edition of this event. Jamil thinks that the team travelling by bus across Israel, Palestine and Jordan will have some difficulties. In the Holy Land transport is very expensive, so a lot of money must be raised. An obstacle are also many control points guarded by soldiers of countries hostile to one another. Despite that, Jamil still hopes about it: - Thanks to the bus the whole world will find out that in Palestine there are the Christians who need support! – he says and in his dark Arabic eyes I see a particular expression. Young people in Palestine want to dream in the same way as everyone – without any fear of a war bringing only death.

Finally, an unexpected visit is paid to me by Fr. Marcin Schmidt. He flew from Chile where he works as a missionary. I also ask him for the most valuable remembrance about his meeting during which pope Francis blessed the action and participants ‘To dreams by bus’. – He was glad when we told him that we would be in Argentina….But as I said, that we would also be in Palestine, his face expression looked serious. He looked at us with a concerned look. He embraced Maciek and said: ‘I will pray for you…’


„Niedziela” 19/2015

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: