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Diocesan Director Previews World Youth Day 2011

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Patrick Diener, director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Raleigh, returned this week from a preview trip to Madrid in preparation for the Diocese of Raleigh pilgrimage on World Youth Day. On August 12-23, 2011, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge and a group of youth and young adults will be making a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, Zargoza and finally Madrid, Spain, for World Youth Day.

World Youth Day, the international event created in 1986 under the leadership of Pope John Paul II, is intended to bring together Catholics ages 16-30 as the Church of today to answer the call to evangelization. World Youth Day takes place every two or three years in a different central location around the world. The celebration has drawn crowds of more than 5 million and has taken place on every continent except Antarctica. Pilgrim groups are organized by Dioceses, parishes, religious organizations and schools. The group will journey to sacred places, cathedrals, participate in Mass and enjoy local attractions.

Diener traveled with the travel company which will handle the pilgrimage, as well as coordinators of the trip, as the representative for the Diocese of Raleigh. He was able to meet with World Youth Day organizers, see the accommodations and travel arrangements and scout out the event locations throughout the city. “I attended World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany,” said Diener. “This event has and continues to shape my life.”

At $3,250 per pilgrim, the trip is expensive, but parishes are already starting to raise funds. Each parish takes a different approach based on their financial needs. Parishes are organizing bake sales and car washes and arranging for scholarships within the parish.

Diener says, “If you are contemplating coming, COME! If God is putting this in your heart, there is a way to get you there. Don’t let money stand in the way. You will come back changed, and you will be a part of a movement which will continue to change the world.”

To find out more about World Youth Day, contact your parish youth minister, pastor or Patrick Diener at Patrick.diener@raldioc.org.