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The United States officially launched its Pilgrim Year of Preparation for World Youth Day 2016 on Tuesday, July 15, with the “Krakow Kickoff,” a special event at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. with WYDUSA Liaison Bishop Frank J. Caggiano. This event was live-streamed – and is now available for on-demand viewing HERE.
Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, World Youth Day Liaison for the U.S. Bishops, spoke about the importance of pilgrimage for those celebrating World Youth Day in Krakow and in the USA. He compared this pilgrim journey to the Transfiguration, noting how Jesus led the apostles up the mountain to see his glorious image, and back down to the rest of the world to continue their apostolic mission. World Youth Day alumna Sara Perla spoke about her personal experience at World Youth Day 2000 in Rome, and Paul Jarzembowski revealed the latest resources and products available through this website.
We invite you to pray the World Youth Day USA prayer as often as you are able, in the silence of your hearts, with friends, family, and fellow pilgrims. May you recieve peace, wisdom, and protection through this prayer.
Youth and young adults are not only the future of the Church, but are active participants in the Catholic Church today. World Youth Day helps to prepare these young men and women to bring about Christ’s mission in the world and to equip them to be missionary disciples. World Youth Day brings together young people from the four corners of the earth, where the Holy Father is able to entrust the Church and its mission to younger generations. World Youth Day is not simply a celebratory gathering of disparate groups of youth and young adults, but a key time to call them forth on a great mission of faith.
As Bishop James D. Conley from Lincoln Nebraska, a World Youth Day alumnus, put it, “John Paul stood among millions of young people here in the United States [at World Youth Day Denver], and told us not to be afraid. He told us to go out into the streets and proclaim the Gospel. He told us to defend life. He told us to become saints. He called us to the New Evangelization.”
Understanding that young people are on a journey, the act of going on pilgrimage is an essential component to the World Youth Day experience. From ancient times, people of faith have made great journeys – from Abraham and Moses to the Early Christians, who traveled “to the ends of the earth” (cf. Acts 1:8) to spread the Gospel. Through the centuries, pilgrims have made journeys to Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela, Rome, and many other great sites to find God through the resting places of the saints. Youth and young adults today continue on that same trajectory – and through World Youth Day, seek God through the experience of a truly Universal Church, in solidarity with the Holy Father and millions of young people. World Youth Day, whether celebrated locally or internationally, is a pilgrimage reflecting the road that young people continue to travel throughout their whole lives.
In the Twenty-First Century, technology ensures that young people are always in contact with one another. World Youth Day goes beyond "being in contact" and gives youth and young adults a personal encounter with the international Catholic community they cannot get through their phones or computers – all in service to the ultimate encounter with God. Like the disciples on Mount Tabor, World Youth Day participants have a great opportunity to experience a transformative event – and to use that moment of grace to equip themselves for the great work that awaits them in the everyday valleys of life.
Each time I have had the privilege of being present at the Vigil and Closing Mass of World Youth Day (Sydney, Madrid, and Rio), when millions of young Catholics are gathered together at the same time, I think of the scene in the Book of Revelation (see Chapter 19) in which a great multitude stands before the throne of the Lamb, singing praises forever and ever. But the realization of this little bit of “heaven on earth” comes not just because of the vast numbers who are gathered or the enthusiasm of their praise. It comes from having witnessed smaller ways in which young people of every nation and language interact with each other at the catechesis sites, at the prayer services, at the concerts, and on the streets. For sure they are not dressed in the pure white garments of heaven, but they are definitely clothed in joy and love of the Lord Jesus.”
-- Most Reverend Larry Silva, Bishop of Honolulu, Hawaii
Relive WYD Rio through Salt+Light's WYD Central blog.
The most recent international World Youth Day was held in late July 2013 in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Over three million people from around the world descended onto Copacabana Beach for the final Mass of WYD that year. For those anticipating the next international event in Krakow, it may be good to see what happened in Rio as a benchmark for these incredible international gatherings.
"Walking through the crowds gathering on Copacabana Beach I would hear chants and songs in so many languages, all praising God, proclaiming their faith in Jesus Christ, and expressing their deep love for the Church and the Holy Father.In a world that at times proclaims that faith and Church are irrelevant, I could only say . . .REALLY! This certainly was not evident at this event" -- Bishop Nelson J Perez
Please feel free to contact the USCCB World Youth Day Office with any questions you may have pertaining to World Youth Day, including information about pilgrim preparation and hosting stateside events. Additionally, if you are hosting a stateside event, consider submitting information for your event to be featured on our stateside activities page.
Phone: (202) 541-3044 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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