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World Youth Day (WYD) is a gathering of millions of young people who come together in a chosen host city, from all across the world, and celebrate their faith, in the name of Jesus Christ.
The first official World Youth Day was held in 1986 and since then it has become not just a single day but a whole week of festivities and fun and spiritual enrichment. Pilgrims at WYD become not only a witness to the people of the host city as they gather peacefully for the faith, but also a sign of hope for the whole world.
Diocesan Pilgrimage to WYD2016
The theme for the XXXI World Youth Day to be held in Krakow, Poland is taken from the Gospel of St Matthew 5:7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy".
On behalf of Bishop Bill and our entire diocesan community we are inviting the young, and young-at-heart, from our diocese to join with us and millions of pilgrims from across the world to participate in World Youth Day 2016. Our pilgrimage is designed around the theme of "In the Footsteps of Saints" and will invite pilgrims to be renewed in faith by encountering the stories, teachings and home of some of the Church's greatest saints: St Francis and St Clare of Assisi, St Catherine of Siena, St Anthony of Padua and most importantly, St John Paul II in whose home town we will be celebrating World Youth Day.
Our proposed pilgrimage includes flying into Venice and commencing our Pilgrimage with a welcome dinner. We will have the chance to travel to Milan, Padua, Siena, Assisi and Casica to encounter the land, culture and history that inspired these saints. We will then travel through to Rome to pray at the tomb of St John Paul II and complete our Mercy Pilgrimage by walking through the Holy "Door of Mercy" in St Peter's Basilica before flying to Poland for the WYD 2016 week. Our pilgrimage will conclude with a retreat experience and a visit to Vienna where we will return home from.
By treading in the footsteps of Saints whilst on pilgrimage, our way is made clearer by seeing where other people's feet have trod before us, we can take our own footsteps out of the footsteps of the past and continue on our way into the future, with hearts and minds transformed and renewed. We are better able to discern where and how these Saints imprint on our lives taking the lessons we have learnt to support us on our own Christian pilgrimage.
Our WYD16 Diocesan Pilgrimage offers to participants a chance to connect with the history of the past and in doing so create renewed Christians who are able to transform the future.
For further information, please contact the WYD Diocesan pilgrimage coordinators Brian and Sue Lacey.
World Youth Day Committee for the Maitland-Newcastle diocese, from left to right: Bernadette Gibson (Schools Liaison), Maryanne Hacker (Youth Leader), Bishop Bill, Sue Lacey (World Youth Day Co-ordinator), Fr Greg Barker (WYD Chaplain), Brian Lacey (World Youth Day Co-ordinator), James Elliot (Youth Leader).