What is a pilgrimage?
History of the World Youth Day Pilgrimage
Pope John Paul II announced the institution of World Youth Day in December 1985, as an annual gathering of youth and young adults for prayer, worship and celebration of the Catholic faith. The event is observed annually in dioceses and every two to three years at an international gathering.
What is a Pilgrimage?
The word “pilgrim,” derived from the Latin peregrinum, conveys the idea of wandering over a distance, but it is not just aimless wandering. It is a journey with a purpose, and that purpose is to honor God.
Pilgrimage has a long history in religion. Once the temple was built at Jerusalem (ca. 957 B.C.), all Jewish men were obliged to present themselves at it for the three major feasts.
After the death and resurrection of the Jesus and the spread of Christianity, Christians felt a longing to tread in the footsteps of their Savior, His Holy Mother, and His chosen followers, the holy Apostles. Even in the early centuries, when millions of Christians were martyred for their Faith, the faithful flocked to the tombs of favorite saints to venerate their remains, sometimes at the risk of being martyred themselves. What were their motives? Basically, they were the same as that of the pagans, but with a true supernatural bent, knowing that in honoring His saints, they were honoring God Himself. Some pilgrimages were done in penance for sin; some were done in petition for a special blessing or favor; and some were undertaken simply out of devotion.
Putting Trust in the Young
World Youth Day is a coming together of young adults from the four corners of the world and a strong reminder of the strength and confidence the young bring to the Church today.
World Youth Day is not simply a gathering for the young people of the world, but a time to put trust in the world's youth. A calling for the world's youth to come together as one people.
Meeting the International World on a Human Level
It is still a marvel in this the 21st Century to exchange with others and to be a part of an international experience. International events are able to stir much hope but also many fears (increase in fundamentalism, nationalism and other new conflicts. . .) The Church and Christians themselves have a role to play in preventing the development of these fears, and in aiding each person in finding their way and discovering hope.