WASHINGTON - More than 40,000 Americans are registered to attend World Youth Day (WYD), July 26-31, in Krakow, Poland. To assist this record breaking number of participants from the United States, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth has lined up a series of resources and a variety of digital platforms to engage youth and young adults at home and abroad.
Through resources like the free mobile app Pilgrimage, followers will have access to content to help them unpack the meaning of the pilgrimage and put works of mercy into action. Digital content include 360-degree video of World Youth Day events, daily readings and prayers. The app has been developed in collaboration with American Bible Society and can be downloaded from Android and Apple app stores.
Also, in collaboration with the Catholic Apostolate Center, content such as interviews with bishops, schedule of events, exclusive videos for digital pilgrims, blogs and other resources will be available at www.wyd2016.us. The latest updates on news, photos and videos will be provided on the USCCB's Facebook and Twitter, Hashtag: #WYDUSA.
These resources are aimed to facilitate information to those on the journey abroad and to provide access to a virtual pilgrimage for those unable to travel.
"We want to let the world know that no one is excluded from a pilgrimage like this. Everyone is called to be a pilgrim, no matter if they have the means to travel to Poland," said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, USCCB episcopal liaison for World Youth Day. "This summer, we want every young adult and young person to know that they are part of this journey, whether that is made physically to Krakow or spiritually at home."
The 40,000 Americans registered represent the largest delegation of U.S. pilgrims participating in a WYD outside of North America, just behind WYD 1993 in Denver and WYD 2002 in Toronto; most of the participants are young adults, ages 18-30. In addition, 85 U.S. bishops are registered, this is also the largest number of bishops attending a WYD celebration outside of North America.
Thirteen U.S. bishops have been selected as catechists: Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York; Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston; Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver; Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia; Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago; Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky; Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami; Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles; Bishop Edward Burns of Juneau, Alaska; Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport; Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York; Bishop Robert McMannus of Worcester, Massachusetts; and Bishop Alberto Rojas, auxiliary bishop of Chicago.
Two major events for U.S. pilgrims will take place in Poland, at Tauron Arena Krakow: the U.S. National Gathering and Prayer Experience, scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, at 5 p.m., and the U.S. National Mass for Pilgrims, on Saturday, July 30, at 9 a.m. Also, an International English Language Center called "Mercy Center," located at Tauron Arena Krakow and hosted by the Knights of Columbus, will provide a variety of English-language programs and activities for pilgrims.
An USCCB office to give support for bishops, group leaders, and in case of emergencies will be located at the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel in Krakow.
Some dioceses and archdioceses around the country have also organized events to celebrate WYD concurrent with the international gathering. A full list of stateside celebrations is available at www.usccb.org/about/world-youth-day/stateside-wyd-celebrations.cfm.
More information is available through the national WYDUSA office at www.wydusa.org.