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Pilgrim Year of Preparation

Bishops wait for the start of Pope Francis' celebration of the closing Mass of World Youth Day at Campus Misericordiae in Krakow, Poland, July 31. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

July 2015 to July 2016 

You are already on pilgrimage!  Welcome to the way!

The journey towards the mountaintop experience of World Youth Day began when you said "yes" to the Lord's call to make this trip. 

To prepare you for the encounter with Christ at the summit of your pilgrimage, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has developed several resources so that you will be ready for such an encounter.

Remember: preparing for this event is as much a part of the pilgrimage of faith as the international activities in Krakow in the summer of 2016. Pope Francis has encouraged all pilgrims to “prepare well,  prepare spiritually above all – in your communities, so that our gathering may be a sign of faith for the whole world!”

Bishop Michael Mulvey, a World Youth Day alumnus, has this to say about pilgrimage: 

Many times as we live the routine of our daily lives, we forget about the internal movement that is happening through our faith in Jesus Christ.  A pilgrimage is not only a physical journey, but an internal movement of faith moving toward a greater reality. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst.”  World Youth Day is a hallmark of that presence of Jesus among His people in an extraordinary way.  It is a people that is moving forward and coming together from all parts of the world to celebrate that faith together.

On this page, you will find links to various resources, suggestions, and ideas (and more will be added as the World Youth Day events in Krakow draw ever nearer). Even if you are not able to travel to Poland in 2016 but plan to participate locally, you are still a pilgrim on the journey. We encourage all youth and young adults across the United States to use these tools for an encounter with Christ and the Church, whether that in Krakow, Poland, or in one's local parish, campus, or diocese, or at home and via social media. God be with you on your journey! Buen Camino!

 Image of the transfiguration from the Walters Art Museum.

SITES of Catholic Heritage in the UNITED STATES

Check out this comprehensive guide to shrines and sanctuaries, churches and cathedrals connected to the themes and aspects of the World Youth Day events, places touched by a pope (in particular Saint John Paul II, one of the primary patrons of World Youth Day), and many other pilgrim destinations across the United States. Consider visiting these places during the year preceding Krakow 2016 as a way to prepare your heart for World Youth Day. 


Pilgrim Year of Preparation calendar

This calendar features important dates for the WYDUSA Pilgrim Year of Preparation. Included are the feast days of the patron saints of this and past World Youth Days; important events in the history of World Youth Day and journeys of Saint John Paul II to the United States; as well as other dates important to the Church and to the people of the United States of America. 

Consider planning activities or taking a moment for prayer on the various dates listed on this preparation calendar.


World Youth Day and World Youth Day USA official prayers

The official World Youth Day Krakow Prayer has been offered by the international World Youth Day organizing committee in preparation for WYD Krakow. 

The World Youth Day Prayer for the United States (The WYDUSA Prayer) has been developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as a way to united and connect all pilgrims from the United States (who will celebrate stateside or internationally in 2016), as well as the friends, families, and church communities who journey with them in spirit. 

Prayer is an essential component to the pilgrimage experience. Consider using both of these prayers in your preparation.


Patron Saints

Check out this list of holy men and women who serve as patrons to World Youth Day pilgrims from the United States and who, among the Communion of Saints, have been praying for this event and for your journey. 

People pack St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for the beatification Mass of Pope John Paul II. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) A statue of St. John Paul II with his arms raised in a greeting welcomes visitors to Krakow, Poland.

Lectio divina

This three part Lectio Divina spiritual exercise series was created specifically for pilgrims preparing to participate in World Youth Day in 2016. 


For the pilgrim, the experience [of a World Youth Day pilgrimage] is not easy.  It requires fortitude, patience, flexibility and even sacrifice.  But those who undertake it find themselves lifted up, proud for having met the challenges and grown in friendship with Jesus. 
-- Bishop Robert Brennan 


Inspirational & Useful Resources

Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee Year of Mercy

Lord Jesus Christ,

you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.

Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us,
the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”

You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.  

We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy;
You who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.  Amen.

 Pope Francis places a flame as visits the memorial at the Birkenau Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, July 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

This prayer can also be found at the Vatican Year of Mercy website HERE.

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