Heather LaPorte, a parishioner at St. Alphonsus, 1429 W. Wellington Ave., attended her first World Youth Day in 2002 in Toronto, Canada. She called the experience “totally invigorating.”
The event, which actually lasts several days, was started by Pope John Paul II in 1986 and is held every few years in different countries. Next August Poland will host the event.
LaPorte said seeing over a million young people at World Youth Day united in one cause, to celebrate their Catholic faith, is “overwhelming.” She spoke to the Catholic New World during a March 29 Palm Sunday event at Holy Name Cathedral to kickoff a year long effort by the archdiocese’s Young Adult Ministry Office to offer catechetical sessions tied to the event, all leading up to an official pilgrimage to World Youth Day next year.
LaPorte plans to attend next year with her husband.
The Palm Sunday event was open to all young adults in the archdiocese, but it was especially intended for those who plan to go to World Youth Day in Krakow July 25-31, 2016, or those who intend to participate in local World Youth Day events, said Alane Malicay, program and event coordinator for the Young Adult Ministry office.
Every Palm Sunday is a World Youth Day, Malicay said, because it was on Palm Sunday in 1984 that St. John Paul II entrusted the World Youth Day cross to the youth of the church, starting a series of events that led to the first World Youth Day pilgrimage to Rome in 1986.
This year’s local observation of World Youth Day included Divine Mercy prayers in English, Spanish, Polish and Tagalog.
“We wanted to bring awareness of the diversity of the archdiocese,” Malicay said.
Young Adult Ministry concentrates its efforts on people who have finished high school up to about age 39, especially those who are going through a transitional phase in their lives, Malicay said. The office has added an emphasis on discernment, as many of the people in its target demographic are considering what kind of a vocation they have.
Archbishop Cupich addressed the young adults gathered at the cathedral and said he would see them next year in Poland.
For information about the pilgrimage or upcoming local catechetical session, visit www.yamchicago.org/wyd2016.
On a cloudy Thursday morning, more than a hundred people gathered near the northwest corner of Humboldt Park to welcome the statue of the Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos to Chicago.
About 500 pilgrims came to a small church on the side of a Pennsylvania mountain Aug. 25 to pray for peace. They gathered at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Centralia, which overlooks the remains of an area mostly evacuated more than 30 years ago because of a mine fire. The church, built on rock, still stands.
The Chicago Catholic asked veteran pilgrimage leader Michael O'Neill him for tips on how to make the most of a pilgrimage journey.