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Beyond World Youth Day


WYD 2011 - Pilgrim carries U.S. flagNow what? What's next? As we leave Campus Misericordiae and depart from Krakow, where do we go from here?

In Scriptures, the disciples expressed a strong desire to stay at the top of the mountain, basking in the radiance of the Lord's Transfiguration. Yet, like Jesus reminded Peter, James, and John, he reminds pilgrim travelers today that they cannot live on mountaintop experiences alone. The exhilaration of the World Youth Day celebration can quickly fizzle, no matter how fantastic it was in Kraków. Yet arriving home after WYD does not mean everything is finished; rather, leaving Kraków is just the beginning of the next phase of a lifelong journey of faith.

In Luke's account of the Transfiguration, when Jesus speaks with Moses and Elijah about the work that still needed to be accomplished in Jerusalem. World Youth Day, in much the same way, can give you direction and formation for the tasks which lay ahead of you upon your return home and throughout your lifetime. It is indeed good that we were there, but it is even better where we're going next! 

As Pope Francis told the pilgrims at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, "Jesus is speaking to each one of us saying, 'It was wonderful to take part in World Youth Day, to live the faith together with young people from the four corners of the earth, but now you must go, now you must pass on this experience to others.' Jesus is calling you to be a disciple with a mission!"

Use this page to continue your pilgrim journey after World Youth Day

Reflections After World Youth Day

Consider These Ideas Upon Returning Home:
- Write thank you notes to your youth or young adult minister, your pastor, your family, to benefactors and sponsors, and/or anyone who had a hand in providing the opportunity for you to attend World Youth Day.
- Write an article about your World Youth Day experiences for your parish, campus, or diocesan website, blog, social media page, newsletter, newspaper, or magazine.
- Speak to people in your parish, campus, or diocese after one of the Masses or during any large gathering within the local community. Share your story and, even more importantly, what you learned about being a missionary of mercy.
- Direct your renewed energy and enthusiasm into projects or activities in your local parish, campus, diocese, or community. The Church seeks your presence and looks forward to having you more engaged in the Church's mission in the world.
- Find a spiritual director, teacher, ministry leader, or mentor in your local community who can help you process the events of World Youth Day and your ongoing spiritual journey.
- Collaborate and connect with Stateside World Youth Day pilgrims in the months and months following the summer; consider coordinating or participating in a jointly-planned reunion experience, as well as shared service, formation, and social events between international and stateside pilgrims.
- Be more merciful, compassionate, and loving in your everyday life: on campus, at work, with family and friends, within your local community, or wherever life finds you next.
- Integrate the message of mercy into your daily life. Look for and reach out (with mercy, charity, and justice) to those in your community who are poor, marginalized, and disconnected from the Church and from society.
Questions to Consider Upon Returning Home:
- What was the high point of your World Youth Day experience?

- What was the most frustrating part of your experience?

- What is one thing you learned about being an example of mercy in your community?

- What was the most impactful thing about traveling to Kraków and Poland (or in general outside of the United States)?

- What did the Holy Father (or a bishop, catechist, or leader) say or do that really impacted or challenged you?

- Who are the memorable people you met at World Youth Day?  Where are they from?

- How was this pilgrimage experience different from the vacations or excursions you may have taken in the past?

- How will you engage stateside pilgrims, as well as friends and family at home, in your continuing pilgrimage of faith?

- How has your relationship with God changed or been enhanced by this pilgrimage experience?

- What three action steps or resolutions are you taking after World Youth Day?

- How will you be more merciful in your life going forward?

- Where do you feel God is calling you to next in life? How might God be calling you to your life's vocation through WYD?

These reflections can be found in the 2016 WYDUSA Pilgrim Journal.

Verso L'Alto

Life beyond WYD is just as important, if not more important, than the preparations for the trip and the mountaintop moments in July 2016. The events may be over, but the pilgrimage continues! Use the following resources to continue your pilgrimage after World Youth Day.

  • The weekly #WYDWednesday blog focuses on the post-WYD experience. Specifically, read the blog post from August 3 by USCCB president Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, focusing specifically on life beyond World Youth Day in Krakow and Stateside. 
  • Paul Jarzembowski, World Youth Day USA Coordinator, shares some practical advice on how to integrate your World Youth Day experience back into everyday life in this video.
  • The Catholic Apostolate Center, in collaboration with the USCCB, has developed some great resources for use by pilgrims and leaders after World Youth Day. Check out their website for World Youth Day or the official Catholic Apostolate Center Website for various resources.
  • The "Pilgrimage" mobile app, coordinated by the American Bible Society in collaboration with the USCCB, is a digital means by which pilgrims can continue the journey through their mobile devices.
  • The WYDUSA Retreat Manual includes a post-WYD retreat that leaders can use to unpack the WYD experience with their groups (note the retreat plan starts on page 69): eBook | PDF
  • The WYDUSA International and Stateside Leader Guides include ideas for post-WYD engagement of pilgrims. For the International Guide, see page 67 and onward: eBook | PDF. For the Stateside Guide, see page 57 onward: English eBook | English PDF | Spanish eBook | Spanish PDF
  • Connect with the WYDUSA Alumni Network for pilgrims to continue to engage beyond World Youth Day. Connect with the Alumni Network on our webpage or on Facebook.
  • Stay connected with WYDUSA by following us on Twitter!


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