On Saturday, July 27 teens from across the Archdiocese of Chicago and other
Midwestern states are going to be gathering at Marian Catholic High School in
Chicago Heights, IL to join in unity with the World Youth Day celebration that
is being led by Pope Francis in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
WYD Chicago: A Midwest Celebration is a prayerful, powerful, and dynamic
pilgrimage experience that commemorates the 13th bi-annual World
Youth Day Celebration. The Gospel of
Matthew calls us to “Go and make disciples of all nations” and that the focus of
the World Youth Day event this year.
Teens will be traveling from near and far to come to the event to gather in
solidarity as a wonderful experience of Church.
Being a teen in today’s world comes with its fair share of experiences and
challenges. Opportunities and experiences like WYD Chicago: A Midwest
Celebration show teens just how grand the Catholic Church is, and how there are
so many others that share their same faith from many different places,
communities, and cultures all around the world.
Another focus of the event is that of pilgrimage. Teens will not only be on a physical journey, but a spiritual one as
well. Pilgrimage includes the
possibility of transformation- that they may leave this place different than
they were when they arrived. The
aspect of pilgrimage is important because the teens need to prepare mentally,
physically, emotionally, and spiritually for this event. Physical pilgrimage is an option at
WYD Chicago: A Midwest Celebration with participants being encouraged to be
dropped off at a parish that is about 2 miles away from the event and actually
walking through the streets to get to the gathering site. Spiritual pilgrimage will be
encouraged at the prayer services, catechetical break- out sessions, multitude
of prayer opportunities, and our closing Mass with a Cardinal and 5 other
Bishops. Mental and emotional
pilgrimage will be encouraged by walking through the ‘Pilgrim Patio’ where
Priests, Sisters, Brothers, and other consecrated people will be available to
chat and ask where and how they are experiencing God throughout the day.
WYD Chicago: A Midwest Celebration shows teens that the larger church that they
are a part of, really values them and their service. It is an honor to host an event of
this caliber in the Archdiocese of Chicago and has been an honor for me to be
organizing all of the different aspects of the event. I ask that you join me in prayer for
all participants coming from near and far, for those who are gathered in Brazil,
and those who will be at either location in mind, body, and spirit. God Bless.