While pilgrims are in Poland celebrating with the pope, locals will be doing the same at the seminary.
In solidarity with the 200 pilgrims from the Diocese of Buffalo who have traveled to Krakow, Poland, for World Youth Day, the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministry will host an outdoor Mass at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora on Saturday, July 30.
"It's basically a celebration of World Youth Day for the diocese, to recognize that the pope called for youth to go on pilgrimage, and to celebrate the gifts of the youth to the Church," said Father Peter Karalus, pastor of St. John Paul II Parish in Lake View and a member of the planning committee.
The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. in a picnic manner. They're calling it Pizza on the Plaza. The program begins at 5:15 with a talk by musician Carrie Ford, teen skits by Quiet Waters Productions, and music with St. Luke's Voices of Mercy. At 6:30, a Eucharistic procession will take place around the seminary lake. Bishop Edward M. Grosz will celebrate Mass at 7 p.m., with music by PoP Culture from the Church of the Annunciation in Elma. The evening will end with a bonfire, so bring a blanket or lawn chair.
"We're bringing some of the outdoor influence of World Youth Day and part of what they celebrate during those days, in one afternoon/evening event," said Father Karalus.
Krakow is six hours ahead of East Aurora. The pilgrims would have already heard from Pope Francis at the vigil Mass and be camped out waiting for Sunday Mass with Pope Francis when Bishop Grosz takes to the pulpit.
"We're gong to try to bring the message of what Pope Francis has shared with the youth in Krakow before the Eucharistic profession," Father Karalus said.
The Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministry hope this celebration will connect locals with the pilgrims on a prayerful and spiritual level. It's also to help those who do not attend the event in Poland to understand what it is all about.
"To help the people who are here, when they meet someone who has gone to World Youth Day, they have a little inkling, obviously we can't capture the whole things, they have a little inkling about what they experienced," Father Karalus said. "It helps share the World Youth Day story for those who have gone with those who have stayed. So, it's kind of an understanding of, 'Why did they come back with all this energy? What do we do with it?' They can have an experience that maybe can light some fires within them."
The event is focused on high schoolers, but is open to all. All youth under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone (who is in full compliance with all Diocesan Safe Environment policies).
Register at www.dobyouth.org or call 716-847-8789.