North Texas Catholic to provide comprehensive World Youth Day coverage

by Juan Guajardo

Associate Editor

North Texas Catholic

More than 200 youth from the Diocese of Fort Worth are taking part in a pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, Prague, and Poland from July 19-August 1. 

FORT WORTH — More than 200 youth and young adults will enjoy a once in a lifetime pilgrimage with Bishop Michael Olson to Krakow for World Youth Day, and the North Texas Catholic will be providing daily coverage online.

The diocesan pilgrimage will take place from July 19 to August 1. The pilgrims include youth, clergy, and chaperones from several local parishes.

Before arriving in Krakow, Poland, the main site of World Youth Day activities, the group will spend several days in Rome, Assisi, Prague, Auschwitz, Wadowice, and Czestochowa — symbolically following in the footsteps of St. John Paul II, as pilgrimage leaders put it.

The NTC is teaming up with the Office of Youth Ministry to bring readers daily blog posts and photos from young people, seminarians, ministers, and clergy attending the event.

The firsthand accounts can be accessed through the World Youth Day portal on the front page of Coverage from Catholic News Service and Catholic News Agency will also be available.

In a short video to youth, Bishop Olson explained what he hopes they will take from the pilgrimage.

“I remember very clearly as a seminarian in 1993 traveling with over 1,000 young people from the Diocese of Fort Worth to World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado,” he said. “There we heard the challenge of John Paul II to follow Christ and be proud of the Gospel, to be strengthened by the Gospel, to know that we were very much trusted with the mission by Christ to share the Good News with all we know, and all we come to meet.

“This will be an opportunity for us to pray with Catholics from around the world, to come to know other young people, to grow deeper in our faith, and to grow to a deeper understanding and catechesis of our faith life.”

Established by John Paul II out of his concern for young people, World Youth Day officially began in 1986.

Held in Rome, the first World Youth Day was more diocesan in scope, but St. John Paul II expressed his desire for WYD to have a larger dimension as well, thus setting the tradition that is followed to this day: Every three years (roughly) WYD is held at the international level. At the diocesan level, it is held annually.

The largest crowd World Youth Day has drawn was at the 1995 event in the Philippines, where an estimated 5 million youths gathered.

The last World Youth Day was hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2013. To date, there have been 12 international WYD celebrations.

According to Catholic News Service, the Krakow event is expected to draw about 2 million attendees.

The Krakow trip promises Holy Masses, catechetical sessions with bishops, music, prayer, shows, and a youth festival. It will also feature opportunities for confession, visits to various vigil sites, and of, course, eight speeches and three Masses celebrated by Pope Francis himself.

According to the official WYD website, the following is a summary of the schedule of events:

Tuesday, July 26: WYD begins with an opening Mass celebrated by the local bishop.

Wednesday, July 27: Catechesis of the Bishops, and a youth festival.

Thursday, July 28: The Papal Welcome.

Friday, July 29: The pilgrims celebrate the Way of the Cross.

Saturday, July 30: Vigil with the Holy Father. The young participants will pray together with the pope in front of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Sunday, July 31: Pope Francis celebrates the Closing Mass and prays the Angelus with the youth.

FORT WORTH — More than 200 youth and young adults will enjoy a once in a lifetime pilgrimage with Bishop Michael Olson to Krakow for World Youth Day, and the North Texas Catholic will be providing daily coverage online.