Benedictine Girls set their sights on World Youth Day.

Kathleen Conaty, student journalist

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World Youth Day (WYD) is a celebration of the Catholic Church’s Youth where the Pope proclaims a special message for the youth attracting them from all over the world, even here, at Benedictine Academy.

World Youth Day is not merely a day of religious celebration but a whole week. This Year’s World Youth Day, a youth festival the Catholic Church organizes every three years, will be celebrated in Kraków, Poland the week of July 25 to July 31. This year World Youth Day’s theme is, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” (Mt 5:7) This theme relates perfectly to this year of Mercy, 2016.

wyd2016_banner

The first World Youth Day was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1985 and had its first events on April 15, 1986. World Youth Day started out being the week of Palm Sunday but now WYD is held in the summer. The Catholic Church designated Saint John Paul II and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta as the patron saints of WYD.

teresa_this-800x500

(Blessed Teresa of Calcutta on Left and sister of Charity on right)

World Youth Day might have a slightly different meaning to people but everyone can agree the WYD is a great opportunity to grow in faith. According to Lisbeth, a senior at BA, who has never attended a WYD before, World Youth Day is, “where the youth go out into pilgrimages to explore, see the Pope, see the struggles of other countries, and connect with God.”  Mrs. Cupelus, a teacher at BA, views WYD as, “a great opportunity for Catholic Youths to come together to talk, pray, and do service.”

The week is filled with many fun activities for the Catholic youth to do. These activities include meeting new people, seeing and hearing the Pope speak, giving service to the poor, and traveling. According to Mrs. Cupelus the church’s youth attend World Youth Day for the, “experience, travel, and the chance to meet the Pope.” Lisbeth wishes to attend WYD this year because she believes the traveling will be fun and looks forward to the new experiences. Gabriela, a senior at BA, who has already attended the 2013 WYD in Rio, Brazil, had, “a lot of fun.” She rated WYD 10 out of 10 especially because of a mix up at her hotel, where her parish group was staying, ended up at a five star hotel.  Small miracles never cease.  Gabriela would wish to attend another WYD and even went as far as to recommend WYD to other youths.

WYD in Rio

(WYD in Rio, Brazil 2013)

Although many youths travel to World Youth Day with their Parish or youth group the air fare and hotel expenses still add up. Many youths turn to fundraising so they can afford the trip. Lisbeth has been selling her, “cake in a jar and cosmetics,” so she can afford to go to WYD this year in Poland. The St. John the Apostle Youth Group is fundraising to attend WYD this year even though they have already gone multiple times before. They have sold food after mass, held a movie night a Zumba event to raise money for the trip.

There is a main goal that makes going to World Youth Day worth all the traveling and fundraising, which is the Pope. Lisbeth plans to go to WYD mainly to see and hear the Pope speak and admitted that she would not be going to WYD if the Pope was not attending. The Pope is what Lisbeth is most looking forward to at WYD even though she also wishes to, “experience new things and create a closer connection with God.”

Pope Francis

(Pope Francis)

For more information and video clips from past World Youth Days go to:

http://worldyouthday.com

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Benedictine Girls set their sights on World Youth Day.