Local group prepares to head to World Youth Day

CNS graphic

BRAINTREE -- Even as World Youth Day 2013 was coming to close in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Archdiocese of Boston's Office of Lifelong Faith Formation and Parish Support has been busy planning for next worldwide gathering of Catholic youth to be held next month in Krakow, Poland.

"We've been working on this for three years, for sure," said Kathy Stebbins, Faith Formation of Youth and Young Adults Coordinator.

Stebbins, along with fellow coordinator Michael Drahos and Faith Formation Director Father Matt Williams, is spearheading the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation's trip to this year's WYD, which will see around 370 youth, young adults, and leaders from throughout the region travel through the office. In addition to those from the Archdiocese of Boston, the group will include pilgrims from the Dioceses of Fall River, Worcester and Norwich, Conn.

Over the last three years, the office has helped promote the trip by visiting parishes in the area and providing them with information on World Youth Day. Once parishes expressed interest, the office assisted them in registering with the common travel agent the archdiocese is using for the event.

The leaders of the registered groups and parishes were then invited to participate in a set of meetings put together by the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation, at which they participated in lectures on a number of topics, including travel safety, Polish culture, and the history of Krakow.

Outside speakers, such as Father Adrian Milik, who lived in Krakow while obtaining his master's degree from Jagiellonian University, were invited to speak at the meetings to offer their knowledge on Poland, and some of the group leaders were given a first-hand taste of local food after being taken to a Polish restaurant.

Stebbins said that time was set aside to teach the group leaders about Polish saints, including St. Edith Stein and St. Maximilian Kolbe, both of whom died in the Auschwitz concentration camp, and St. Pope John Paul II, who was born in Poland.

For on-the-ground preparations, Father Williams made a trip to Poland last month together with Father Michael Harrington, director of the Office of Outreach and Cultural Diversity at the archdiocese.

"We went there for a site inspection, to basically walk the route and visit the places all of our Boston pilgrims are going to be visiting," said Father Williams.

To help the pilgrims prepare for the event and get to know each other before the trip, earlier this month the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation held a rally at the Betania II Maria Center in Medway. Pilgrims and parishioners were invited to attend, and they spent a night attending confession, participating in adoration, and praying together.

Before the end of the rally, the pilgrims were given a number of items for the trip, including sunglasses with "WYD Krakow" printed on them, the book "Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves," by Jason Evert, luggage tags, and prayer cards.

They also were given the opportunity to create "spiritual bouquets," a compilation of cards containing prayers, for the 2016 World Youth Day Committee, the organization responsible for organizing the event.

"They need our prayers, and so our young people are given the opportunity to make a prayer pledge to pray for the World Youth Day Committee," said Father Williams, adding that they will also send the committee "American candy and some other fun things."

World Youth Day officially begins on July 25 and lasts until July 31, but most of the pilgrims traveling with the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation will be leaving for Warsaw, Poland on July 21.

Once there, they will tour city, attend Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary Immaculate at Niepokalanow monastery, and will have a "barbecue, and a rally, and hopefully adoration" with other U.S. pilgrims, Stebbins said.

On July 24, the pilgrims will depart Warsaw for Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa before heading to Krakow. The group will also visit the remains of the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz and Birkenau before World Youth Day kicks off.

During WYD, the pilgrims will have a full schedule, with some of the highlights including: attending the opening ceremony with Cardinal Dziwisz; attending a Mass at the Basilica of Divine Mercy celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley; a dinner with Cardinal O'Malley in Krakow; and of course, the vigil and Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.

At the end of World Youth Day, on July 31, the pilgrims will split up, with some groups returning home and other groups heading to Zakopane, a mountainous town in southern Poland.

There, pilgrims will be able to reflect on their trip before returning back to Boston on Aug. 3.

The trip to Zakopane "gives them a chance to decompress and really reflect on what God is saying," Father Williams said.

While in Poland, the pilgrims' activities will be chronicled through the Archdiocese of Boston's social media accounts, including Twitter and Facebook.

Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...

Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

Catholic workers say U.S. aid cuts to Palestinians could be disastrous

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- The U.S. budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said ...