Pope Benedict XVI became the first person to officially register for the 26th World Youth Day (WYD) to be held July 1, 2011. The gathering of Catholic young adults and older teenagers will be held in Madrid, Spain, August 16-21, 2011. An estimated 600,000 are expected to attend the event.
While the WYD Web site is now taking registrations, most of the young people from the Diocese of Raleigh who plan to attend the event are registering through the Diocese. Patrick Diener, Diocesan Director of Youth Ministry, said the Diocese has committed to 55 people taking part in the WYD pilgrimage, including the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, who will lead the Diocese of Raleigh pilgrims. Diener said most of the 55 spots are reserved, but he added, additional young people will be accommodated if they register within the next two or three months.
The Diocesan pilgrimage costs $3,250 per person and is a 10-day trip, including a visit to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in France, before traveling to Madrid. The pilgrimage includes World Youth Day registration, hotel accommodations, most meals, all travel arrangements and extras, such as a tour of Madrid, T-shirts, translation books, and tips and taxes for travel.
Diener explained that while registration through the WYD Web site, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Madrid, is less expensive, individual registration through the site does not include travel to and from Madrid and transportation once in the city. An individual booking through the international Web site is basically on his or her own, and sleeping accommodations are usually not in a hotel but rather in churches and school gymnasiums.
“Our committee is working hard alongside our travel agency to make sure the entire trip details are covered so that the pilgrims can have a more enjoyable experience on this trip,” Diener explained. “Starting this fall, we will be having pilgrim meetings to meet with the other participants on the trip as well as go over necessary travel issues and to start our spiritual formation and praying as a group for this pilgrimage.”
Additional information, including a Diocesan WYD brochure in English and Spanish, is available on the Youth Ministry page of the Diocesan Web site.