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Diocesan World Youth Day Young People Prepare for Pilgrimage

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On June 22, 2011, Patrick Diener, Director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Raleigh, along with over 60 students, young adults, chaperones, clergy and seminarians, joined Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge to discuss their preparation for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain. From August 12th to 23rd, the Diocesan group will make a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France; Zargoza, Spain; and finally Madrid.

World Youth Day, the international event created in 1986 under the leadership of Pope John Paul II, is designed to bring together Catholics ages 16-30 from around the world, as the Church of today answers the call to evangelization. World Youth Day takes place every two or three years, drawing crowds of several million people. It has taken place on every continent except Antarctica. The theme of this year’s pilgrimage is “Planted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Affirmed in the Faith.”

“We are affirmed in the faith,” Bishop Burbidge said to the group, “because we do not travel alone. God sends us forth in the company of others as we travel as a Diocese and with the universal Church.”

The Bishop, along with Philip Johnson, Diocesan Seminarian, spoke to the group about what to expect on the pilgrimage. Although Philip is not making the pilgrimage to World Youth Day, he has been to Lourdes several times. He shared pictures of his previous trips and explained to the group what they would see at different locations.

Luke Jalette, of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Rocky Mount, is one of the pilgrims. He echoed others in attendance as he spoke about the anticipation of the trip. “It will be a moving experience,” he said, “because we’ll be surrounded by some four million other Catholics. Seeing all these people praying and believing the same things is going to be awesome, and definitely reaffirm my faith.”

Bishop Burbidge spoke of his own hopes for the group. “My intention,” he said, “is that through your participation in this pilgrimage you will be renewed in faith, and return on fire for the love of the Lord and anxious to share that faith with one another.”

Above: Bishop Burbidge and members of the Diocesan group that will be attending World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain.