DC-Area Youth Prepare for World Youth Day

August 01, 2005

Over 450 young Catholics from the Archdiocese of Washington are preparing to join Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick and hundreds of thousands of Catholic youth from around the world at this year’s World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, August 16-21.

Most of the young people, ages 16-35, will depart the Washington area in early August. The largest pilgrimage group includes 107 youth and young adults from a number of local parishes. Many of them gathered at St. Peter’s in Waldorf on July 31 for a blessing by the pastor, Msgr. John Pennington, who will be a chaperone for the pilgrimage; lunch; and a “Who Wants to be a Pilgrim?” contest.

This group will leave Washington on August 9, and visit holy sites in Italy, as well as the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, before arriving in Cologne on August 16.

“World Youth Day isn’t a vacation,” said Debbie McDonald, Executive Director for Youth Ministry of the Archdiocese of Washington and organizer of the pilgrimage group. “It’s a time for young Catholics to experience and deepen their faith in Christ in new ways, and to experience the universality of the Catholic Church by spending time with young Catholics from around the world.”

World Youth Day is held in a different nation every two or three years. During the week-long event, pilgrims will participate in Masses with Pope Benedict XVI, prayer, a youth festival and catechetical sessions. Over 23,000 people from the United States will attend. Many youth have raised funds for the trip through events such as spaghetti dinners, parish auctions and candy sales.

The Washington-area pilgrims include teens and young adults from many parishes and groups, including Church of the Nativity, Our Lady Queen of the Americas and St. Augustine, Washington, DC; St. Francis, Derwood; St. James, Mt. Rainier; St. Margaret of Scotland, Suitland; St. Martin, Gaithersburg; St. Peter, Waldorf; and St. Raphael, Rockville.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]