(SNR) - The Diocese of Lincoln has been organizing World Youth Day (WYD) trips since the worldwide event was hosted in Denver in 1993, the first of eight WYD events in which pilgrims from throughout the diocese participated.
The first trip was limited to five days in Denver with about 1,500 pilgrims from the diocese. It was followed by a trip of 230 young people to Paris (1997), 150 to Rome (2000), 550 to Toronto (2002), 150 to Cologne (2005), 110 to Sydney (2008), 110 to Madrid (2011) and 50 to Rio de Janeiro (2013). Recent trips have been 17-day pilgrimages that included all three of these significant dimensions: touring the area, living with the local people, and official WYD events.
World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow will be no different, except that the first leg of the pilgrimage will include a stop in the hometown of newly canonized saint, Pope John Paul II. The tour of John Paul’s childhood home of Wadowice, Poland, will be just one small part of a pilgrimage replete with examples of the influence of this great saint. The WYD events that are the focal point of the trip will be hosted in the same town that had John Paul serving as the Cardinal Archbishop—Krakow.
A sobering aspect of the pilgrimage will be a tour of the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau. As a young bishop and as pope, John Paul spoke tirelessly against the Nazi regime and its communist mentality that excluded God from all aspects of civil life. The influence of communist rule in his native homeland came to a halt in large part because of his persistent encouragement of the solidarity movement there and elsewhere. Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine will be another destination for WYD pilgrims.
An extension of the next WYD pilgrimage will include a stop at Bruno in the Czech Republic, home of the convent from which the founders of the diocesan Marian Sisters community came. A brief visit there will precede two days in Prague, home of many historical and religious interests, such as the original Infant of Prague statue, which is featured in many diocesan churches, particularly those with parishioners of Czech heritage.
Registration for WYD has been open for several months already and those young people who will be at least 16 by July of 2016 can register at www.lincolndiocese.org. There is a detailed schedule of the pilgrimage available and information about costs and payment schedule. A refundable $100 deposit is required to register and the first regular payment will be due July 1, 2014.