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Diocesan Faithful Preparing for World Youth Day Pilgrimage

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On August 12, more than five dozen men, women and teenagers will depart on a pilgrimage to Madrid, Spain, to take part in World Youth Day 2011. The group will join the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge for a five-day event hosted by the Catholic Church of Spain and the Archdiocese of Madrid. World Youth Day (WYD) is a semi-annual event in which Catholic young people from throughout the world join with the Holy Father for prayer, the Way of the Cross and the celebration of Holy Mass. More than one million Catholics are expected to attend this year’s event.

World Youth Day was begun by Pope John Paul II as a way to engage young Catholics to learn more about their faith and to gain an understanding of the universality of the Church. It provides them with an opportunity to be with the Vicar for Christ. Sponsors note that the pastoral and apostolic experience in years of WYD celebrations has been overwhelmingly positive, adding that WYD not only demonstrates the Church’s presence in the world, but also a sign of communion among its members.

Those making their way to Madrid from the Diocese will first make a stop at one of the world’s most famous Catholic shrines, Our Lady of Lourdes in France.

In an interview on Catholic Weekly, the Diocese of Raleigh’s radio program, Diocesan Youth Ministry Director Patrick Diener discussed the pilgrimage and impact World Youth Day has had in every country that sponsored the event.