World Youth Day symbols make stop in Chicago

By Joyce Duriga | Editor and Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Wednesday, August 22, 2018

World Youth Day icons stop in Chicago

On Aug. 20, 2018, the World Youth Day cross and icon of Mary, under the title of Salus Populi Romani, stopped in the Archdiocese of Chicago. A full day of events were held for young adults at Holy Name Cathedral to venerate and pray before the icons, which were touring the United States on their way to World Youth Day in Panama in January.
Participants lead the entrance procession for the midday Mass at Holy Name Cathedral on Aug. 20. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Jamie Mueller, director of the archdiocese’s Office of Young Adult Engagement, gives the homily during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A volunteer wearing a T-shirt from the 2011 WYD from in Madrid, Spain, collects money or other gifts during the offertory. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Peter Wojcik, director of the archdiocese’s Department of Parish Vitality and Mission, receives the gifts from a family during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Peter Wojcik, Father Jamie Mueller and other priests celebrate the midday Mass with worshippers for the arrival of the official World Youth Day Cross and Marian Icon at Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion prepare to distribute the Eucharist at Mass Aug. 20. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Members of the band Tribeza perform in the cathedral vestibule prior to evening Mass welcoming participants to the events. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., gives the homily at the 5:15 p.m. Mass. He is the U.S. bishops liaison to World Youth Day. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
The World Youth Day icons can be seen during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Caggiano, Chicago Auxiliary Bishop George Rassas, Father Gregory Sakowicz, rector of Holy Name Cathedral, Father Tim Monahan, archdiocesan vocation director, and other priests concelebrated evening Mass with worshippers celebrating the arrival of the official World Youth Day (WYD) Cross and Marian Icon. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Young adults share the sign of peace. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Peter Famera and Thomas Leah pray following Communion. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Tim Monahan, archdiocesan vocation director, venerates the WYD cross after Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A young adult venerates the cross following Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

When more than 100,000 young people gather with Pope Francis in Panama this January for World Youth Day, on prominent display will be two symbols that visited the Archdiocese of Chicago Aug. 20. 

The World Youth Day Cross and the icon of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani, entrusted to the youth and young adults of the world by St. John Paul II in 1984, were displayed in the sanctuary at Holy Name Cathedral from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. and venerated by the faithful who attended the many services held around the visit.

It was the first time these symbols visited Chicago. Much like the Olympic torch, the symbols make a pilgrimage to various countries leading up to World Youth Day. 

St. John Paul II instituted the annual observance of World Youth Day after two successful international gatherings with young people in Rome in 1984 and 1985. It is a gathering of youth and young adults for prayer, worship and celebration of the Catholic faith.

It is currently held every few years in different countries. The pilgrimage experience is aimed at those ages 16 to 35. 

Daisy Chavez, a parishioner at Most Blessed Trinity in Waukegan, took a vacation day from her job in the library at National Louis University to come and visit the World Youth Day cross and icon at Holy Name Cathedral.

She found the icon especially meaningful, as her mother died two years ago.

“Now that I know what it is to be without a mother, Mary has really stepped into that role as mother of the church,” said Chavez, 39, after the 12:10 p.m. Mass.

Chavez always wanted to go to World Youth Day, but was never able to make it happen. She did travel to Peru with Bishop George Rassas on a mission trip, and traveled to Philadelphia when Pope Francis visited during the World Meeting of Families.

“I know how hard mission trips and pilgrimages are,” she said. “But now I feel like God came here, since I wasn’t able to go there.”

Jennifer Delvaux, coordinator of evangelization in the Office of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship, said she has been to five World Youth Days, starting with the one in Rome in 2000. It was there, she said, that she began to consider leaving law school and pursuing a life in ministry.

She also went to Toronto in 2002 as a pilgrim, and then led groups of young people traveling to the World Youth Days in Cologne (2005), Australia (2008) and Madrid (2011). 

During his homily at the 12:10 p.m. Mass, Father Jamie Mueller, director of the Office of Young Adult Engagement, talked about being at World Youth Day in 2000 as a high school student. His group camped in a field oustide of Rome next to a group from France, which was having trouble with its radios. The American group shared its radios, the French group shared baguettes and juice, and the young Mueller was struck by how, even though they were from different countries and couldn’t understand one another, they were all part of the same church, children of the same God.

Delvaux said that when she heard that story, she wondered if it was the same French group that adopted her when she got separated from her companions in Rome for a few hours.
The sense of the universality of the church is one of the gifts of World Youth Day, she said.

“While we all have different lives and different experiences, we are all part of one body,” she said.

Several services and events were held at Holy Name Cathedral while the symbols were there, including confessions, recitation of the Divine Mercy chaplet and 5:15 p.m. Mass with Bishop Frank Caggiano of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bishop Caggiano is the U.S. bishops’ liaison to Word Youth Day and one of the four U.S. delegates to the World Synod of Bishops on Youth to be held in Rome in October. 

During his homily, Bishop Caggiano said Catholics are one family connected eternally through God’s grace and reflected in the Holy Trinity. 

“Although we come from different lands, speak different languages, are from different races and walks of life, we are more of a family than any natural family of single blood for it is grace that makes us one,” Bishop Caggiano said. “It is the bond of divine love, of Father, Son and Spirit who dwells in your heart and mine since baptism that allows us to be one in Christ.”

This gift must give us hope in a time of pain and suffering, he said, referencing recent revelations of clergy sexual abuse. 

“For our church is not one, but it is broken and in flames as your sinfulness and mine adds to that brokenness,” he said. “If that were not enough, we live in a world that is broken.”

Our world celebrates divisions that drive us further away from God’s dream for us to be united, he said.

“That unity that Jesus asks the Father to give to us has precious little to do with whether or not you and I are on the same page,” he said. “Rather it occurs and grows and deepens and comes to perfection when you and I have the courage to get on our knees and stop looking at each other and look to the Lord Jesus who is the master, and the savior and the redeemer of our soul.”

Following Mass, Bishop Caggiano led a prayer service sending the symbols off on the rest of the U.S. tour which included stops in Miami, Galveston Houston, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. 


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