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Pray for your fellow pilgrims (even those you have yet to meet), for Pope Francis and the bishops participating, for the people of Poland, for those who cannot travel to WYD, and for yourself, that you may be open to God’s will for you at World Youth Day.
And don’t pack everything – just what is needed for the journey. Remember clothes (though not too many), good walking shoes, a hat, your morning basics (toothbrush, toiletries, etc.), any medications you need, your sleeping bag, your passport, and items that will help you travel spiritually (the Bible, prayer cards, your rosary, etc.).
At World Youth Day, there will be a lot of walking. Begin training for that by taking time to walk a few miles each day. Consider bringing others with you on your outings. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to be outside and to get in some healthy exercise!
Find out more about the country of Poland, its saints, and history, especially within the context of the Nazi invasion and communism. Pick up some Polish phrases. Read about the Holy Father, Pope Francis. Dig deeper into your Catholic faith.
Learn about World Youth Day: how and why it began, what the schedule will be this year, and who is expected to be there (www.krakow2016.com/en)
When you’re in such big crowds like at World Youth Day, we need to listen attentively to directions and instructions. Get in the habit of listening to what your group leaders and other church leaders have to say. Listening is also the best way to keep safe.
When you’re at World Youth Day, you will live simply (just as Pope Francis encourages us to do). To prepare for that experience, consider fasting from food, from excess and material goods, and from bad habits.
One of the best ways to prepare for a pilgrimage is to give selflessly of yourself for others. Not only does this help another person in need, but it also trains us to think outside of ourselves (something good to know on a pilgrimage surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people).
Tell others about your trip. Explain to them why you are making the trip to World Youth Day, and what your Catholic faith means to you.
Too often, when the pilgrimage is over, people can close themselves off to those who didn’t experience the journey. Instead, consider sharing your joys and struggles with friends and family who aren’t going to Krakow. And upon coming home, make a concerted effort to share your experiences in a positive and inviting manner, without making others feel left out.
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