Archdiocese of Chicago

Catholic Chicago Blog

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

WYD Chicago: A Midwest Celebration

By Beth Starczewski

On Saturday, July 27 teens from across the Archdiocese of Chicago and other Midwestern states are going to be gathering at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, IL to join in unity with the World Youth Day celebration that is being led by Pope Francis in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

WYD Chicago: A Midwest Celebration is a prayerful, powerful, and dynamic pilgrimage experience that commemorates the 13th bi-annual World Youth Day Celebration. The Gospel of Matthew calls us to “Go and make disciples of all nations” and that the focus of the World Youth Day event this year. Teens will be traveling from near and far to come to the event to gather in solidarity as a wonderful experience of Church.

Being a teen in today’s world comes with its fair share of experiences and challenges. Opportunities and experiences like WYD Chicago: A Midwest Celebration show teens just how grand the Catholic Church is, and how there are so many others that share their same faith from many different places, communities, and cultures all around the world.

Another focus of the event is that of pilgrimage. Teens will not only be on a physical journey, but a spiritual one as well. Pilgrimage includes the possibility of transformation- that they may leave this place different than they were when they arrived. The aspect of pilgrimage is important because the teens need to prepare mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for this event. Physical pilgrimage is an option at WYD Chicago: A Midwest Celebration with participants being encouraged to be dropped off at a parish that is about 2 miles away from the event and actually walking through the streets to get to the gathering site. Spiritual pilgrimage will be encouraged at the prayer services, catechetical break- out sessions, multitude of prayer opportunities, and our closing Mass with a Cardinal and 5 other Bishops. Mental and emotional pilgrimage will be encouraged by walking through the ‘Pilgrim Patio’ where Priests, Sisters, Brothers, and other consecrated people will be available to chat and ask where and how they are experiencing God throughout the day.

WYD Chicago: A Midwest Celebration shows teens that the larger church that they are a part of, really values them and their service. It is an honor to host an event of this caliber in the Archdiocese of Chicago and has been an honor for me to be organizing all of the different aspects of the event. I ask that you join me in prayer for all participants coming from near and far, for those who are gathered in Brazil, and those who will be at either location in mind, body, and spirit. God Bless.