With World Youth Day only months away, pilgrims have begun meeting and preparing for their journey. Nearly 100 young people will travel with CYM to Poland in July, joining millions of young Catholics from all over the world in a celebration of faith. The first pilgrim preparation meeting took place on January 21st with three more to follow between now and July, when the pilgrims depart.
The World youth day experience is a unique one; it’s a faith experience, a cultural experience, and a social experience. Consequently the pilgrims’ preparation is multifaceted. The meetings provide opportunity for pilgrims to get to know each other. Building friendships that will support each other through, and share the amazing experience, of World Youth Day.
Pilgrims are also given some introduction to Polish language and culture. At the first meeting pilgrims learnt social etiquette relating to introductions as well as some greetings. As the pilgrim meetings go on they’ll explore some of the higher points of Polish Culture such as mass and religion, as well as some of the lower points such as bathroom etiquette.
More importantly than building friendships and rapport, or knowing how to find a toilet, pilgrims prepare spiritually for World Youth Day. The initial meeting begun with prayer, with pilgrims joining together in praying the official Australian World Youth Day prayer for 2016. The pilgrims also learnt about the great Saint and WYD patron Pope John Paul II, about his influence, life, and personal holiness. This allows a devotion to grow as well as anticipation for visiting the places and country where John Paul grew up. Pilgrims are encouraged to prayerfully prepare for the trip expecting that the experience will inspire and nourish their faith.
Of course a large group pilgrimage also requires a lot of logistical preparation. On the pilgrims part this involves getting registration documentation, finances, and travel details in order. CYM director Anita Parker gave a detailed description of the step by step registration process. Pilgrims were also given a rundown of what to expect over the next few months as well as a list of things to pack. While it’s a little early to be packing a bag, the departure date will come up quick, so pre planning will come up quickly.
In some ways the trip couldn’t come soon enough, with the pilgrims eager to get to Poland, explore a beautiful country and culture, party and pray with millions of young people, and wave erratically at Pope Francis. There’s still time though, if you’d like to join the festivities and travel to World Youth Day with an amazing group of young people contact CYM today and secure of the still available spots. NEXT PILGRIM MEETING IS ON THE 17 MARCH
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