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Upon his return from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, Pope Francis said, "We must never forget that World Youth Days are not 'firework displays,' flashes of enthusiasm that are an end in themselves; rather, they are stages of a long journey, begun in 1985, at the initiative of Pope John Paul II." (Angelus message in St. Peter's Square, August 4, 2013)
With that in mind, the USCCB endeavors to update the Church in the United States on the "long journey" that continues – for young people, their leaders, and "alumni" of past encounters – in the everyday experiences of faith, all of which point toward Christ and the Gospel. Seen from this perspective, then, the international World Youth Days are moments where pilgrims gather together in one place every three years to share those lived experiences, learn from one another, renew their commitment to Christ and the Church, and hear from their shepherd, the Holy Father, so that they might be inspired to continue the journey and change the world.
This summer, in preparation for the next international WYD
encounter in Poland in 2016, we begin a two-year "Countdown to Krakow" (the days, hours, and minutes are already counting
down at www.wydusa.org). While two years
may seem a long way to go, the wait reminds us that the best things in life are
rarely rushed – and often best experienced with good discernment, time, and
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be organizing a special event in Kraków during the World Youth Day week for WYD pilgrims from the United States of America. Exact details will be finalized this summer.The USCCB will also have an on-site concierge service in Kraków, where pilgrim leaders can check-in during their time in Krakow for information, concerns, and questions. More details on this will be forthcoming.
Not everyone is able to travel to Kraków for World Youth Day.For this reason, we highly encourage local parishes and/or dioceses to consider hosting "stateside" World Youth Day activities in late July 2016 for those youth and young adults who are unable to attend WYD in Poland, as well as friends and families of international pilgrims.In this way, all young people from the United States will be united as WYDUSA pilgrims. This includes those who will be present in Kraków with the Holy Father as well as those participating in their local area and via social media.
In advance of World Youth Day in Kraków, the United States' World Youth Day Office (WYDUSA) will be working on developing preparation and promotional resources to assist dioceses and group leaders. These resources will be available in summer 2015.
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