This week you’ll be hearing a lot about World Youth Day. Thousands of teens and young adults from all over the world, including about 30,000 from the U.S., will gather in Madrid to celebrate their Catholic faith. This will be the 12th World Youth Day since Pope John Paul II started the event in the mid-1980’s. The U.S. hosted World Youth Day in 1993 in Denver.
The event is a pilgrimage rather than a vacation or sightseeing excursion. Pilgrims will use the week-long activities to reconnect with Jesus, share their faith, and renew their commitment to Christ. For some pilgrims it will literally be a life-changing event as they seek to discern God’s will in their lives.
This year’s theme is taken from St. Paul: “Planted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith.” Activities include prayer, song, concerts, drama, liturgy, catechesis with bishops and a Saturday night vigil. World Youth Day concludes on August 21 with a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.
While most young people cannot travel to Madrid, everyone can check out the virtual pilgrimage to World Youth Day.