July 25, 2016  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  


U.S. Pilgrims Break Record as Third-Largest Delegation to Attend World Youth Day

 Hundreds of young people from the tri-county Archdiocese of Los Angeles are embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage, traveling to Krakow, Poland, to join millions of Catholics and Pope Francis in celebrating World Youth Day (WYD) 2016, from July 26-31.

“My entire visit will be inspired by Mercy during this Jubilee Year, and by the grateful and blessed memory of Saint John Paul II, who instituted the World Youth Days and was the guide of the Polish people in its recent historic journey towards freedom,” said Pope Francis.

Since Pope John Paul II launched WYD thirty years ago, it’s become not just the Catholic Church’s biggest event, but also the world’s largest gathering of young people. WYD is a transformative pilgrimage experience, targeting those ages 16 to 35, offering youth and young adults the opportunity to deepen their faith as they celebrate their Catholic identity with peers from around the world.

Bishop Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region, will serve as the presider for one of the major events geared toward English-speaking pilgrims at Tauron Arena Krakow: Night of Mercy, scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, at 7 p.m. CEST. Bishop Barron will also join 12 other U.S. bishops as a World Youth Day catechist.

Last Sunday, July 17, Bishop Barron delivered the homily at a special Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels for pilgrims traveling to WYD from the Archdiocese. The pilgrims received a blessing from Archbishop José H. Gomez at the Mass and were given specially designed WYD bracelets from My Saint My Hero Jewelry, for pilgrims to share prayers with someone at home or in Poland during WYD.

“Let us pray that the Lord will give them a prosperous journey, that they may experience God’s goodness in the hospitality that they receive and that they bring the good news of salvation to all those that they meet,” said Archbishop Gomez during the blessing of the WYD pilgrims. Watch blessing here: Photos of the blessing at the Cathedral are attached.

Pope Francis will lead events on July 27-31, including a closing overnight vigil and Mass that is expected to draw as many as two million attendees from around the world.

The 40,000 Americans registered represent the largest delegation of U.S. pilgrims participating in a WYD outside of North America, just behind WYD 1993 in Denver and WYD 2002 in Toronto; most of the participants are young adults, ages 18-30.

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NOTE: Pilgrims, leaders and/or spiritual guides are available for media interviews from Krakow. Photos attached. Captions below.

Credit: Archdiocese of Los Angeles/Victor Aleman.

PHOTO 1: In his homily during a blessing of WYD pilgrims on July 17, 2016 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron, who will be accompanying the pilgrims from Los Angeles, spoke to them about the example set by Pope John Paul II as a youth, who launched WYD 30 years ago. Credit: Archdiocese of Los Angeles/Victor Aleman.

PHOTO 2: Archbishop José H. Gomez, center, and Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron (left, second row) with a group of WYD pilgrims who received a send-off blessing by Archbishop Gomez on July 17 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

PHOTO 3: Fr. Christopher Bazyouros, director of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Office of Religious Education, and more than 90 WYD pilgrims from the Archdiocese, get ready for Mass on July 24 at the Basilica in Wadowice, where St. John Paul II was baptized and received First Holy Communion. Credit: Archdiocese of Los Angeles/Adrian Marquez-Alarcon.




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