Send-0ff Mass, World Youth Day Dallas celebration also planned
By Michael Gresham
The Texas Catholic
Hundreds of local young Catholics will join hundreds of thousands of their peers from around the world as they gather Aug. 1-6 in Lisbon, Portugal for World Youth Day 2023.
“It’s a global celebration of faith,” said Joshua Salinas, director of the Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministries for the Diocese of Dallas, who will lead a diocesan delegation to Lisbon for World Youth Day. “While World Youth Day will be celebrated in Portugal this year, it is not just something happening in Lisbon. It’s something that Pope Francis is calling the entire world to celebrate. This is how Jesus is calling us to carry forth the Gospel message.”
Salinas said the diocesan delegation is a group of around 80 young adults, volunteers and diocesan staff. In addition to that delegation, Salinas said around 1,000 representing parishes and communities throughout the diocese are also making the pilgrimage to Lisbon. During the pilgrimage, the diocesan delegation will enjoy faith and fellowship with Catholics from around the world as well as make a special pilgrimage to Fátima, participate in catechesis sessions, attend Pope Francis’ welcoming address, and participate in Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic adoration and the celebration of Mass.
Bridget Hanafin, a teacher at Christ the King Catholic School, is helping to coordinate the diocesan delegation. She believes World Youth Day offers young pilgrims an opportunity to see faith in action.
“We hear so many things that bring us down, but World Youth Day really is shining light into this idea that the church is very much alive,” Hanafin said. “We’ll be seeing different cultures and generations participating and giving witness to the fire, the energy, and the love of our faith. It’s going to be really exciting.”
World Youth Day, established by St. John Paul II in 1985, attracts hundreds of thousands of young people and every three years is held on a different continent. The triennial event was originally to take place during the summer of 2022 with the last World Youth Day being held in Panama in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, delayed preparations.
Among those making the pilgrimage from North Texas to Portugal will be Bishop Edward J. Burns, who is serving as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ episcopal liaison for World Youth Day 2023.
“This World Youth Day movement is indeed inspired by the Holy Spiri and is a great gift from St. John Paul II,” said Bishop Burns, who told his brother U.S. bishops at their June plenary assembly that among the more than a million Catholics set to gather in Lisbon 26,000 will be pilgrims from more than 900 pilgrimage groups across the U.S. That number is more than double the number of young pilgrims from the 2019 event.
During World Youth Day, Bishop Burns said U.S. pilgrims, including the attending clergy and religious, have been asked to lead and participate in synodal catechetical sessions called “Rise Up!”
“These daily catechetical sessions will be presented in conversational style so young people can engage in prayer and open dialogue with bishops,” Bishop Burns said, explaining that the Vatican wanted to encourage this example of synodality and allow young people to embrace their own “co-responsibility” of the church’s mission. He added, “They are called ‘Rise Up!’ … so we may all be imitators of Mary, who ‘rose and went in haste’ to see Elizabeth.”
Bishop Burns said there will be 14 catechetical sites animated by U.S. pilgrims, nine in English and five in Spanish.
U.S. pilgrims of World Youth Day will have a national gathering Aug. 2 at Parque da Quinta das Conchas near the Lisbon airport. There also will be a special chapel and meeting place for U.S. pilgrims in the heart of World Youth Day near the Church of St. Joseph of the Carpenters
“We will have a very full week with the presence of the Holy Father and the non-stop joy of the prayerfulness across Lisbon,” Bishop Burns said.
Father Ignacio Olvera, parochial vicar at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, will serve as the spiritual advisor for the diocesan group in Lisbon. He said he hopes pilgrims return from Lisbon better connected with the Lord and with their Catholic faith.
“My hope is that once the young people experience World Youth Day, their faith will be reignited and be so illuminating to the people that they come back and share that beautiful experience and how the Holy Spirit worked through them,” he said. “I hope these young people get on fire for their faith.”
Departing with prayers
The diocese plans a special send-off Mass for those pilgrims from north Texas at 2:30 p.m. July 23 at St. Rita Catholic Church, 12521 Inwood Road in Dallas. As the Mass also falls on the celebration of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, Bishop Burns is asking the faithful to come prayerfully pay homage to the invaluable role of grandparents and the elderly while also offering prayers for the young Catholic pilgrims to deepen their faith, forge friendship and encounter the love of Christ on a global scale in Lisbon.
“This is an intergenerational celebration,” Salinas explained. “World Youth Day started with St. John Paul II nearly 40 years ago, and there are countless generations of people and families that have been impacted by World Youth Day since its inception.
“We recognize that there are a lot of grandparents who might not be able to make the pilgrimage,” Salinas added, “but it is through the love of the faith they have instilled in their families that their grandchildren are going on their behalf.”
World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly is held annually the fourth Sunday of July, close to the feast of Jesus’ grandparents, Sts. Joachim and Anne.
WYD in North Texas
In addition to those pilgrims traveling to Portugal, the Diocese of Dallas is offering an opportunity for young Catholics in north Texas to celebrate World Youth Day. The diocese plans “World Youth Day Takes Dallas” gathering from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a Mass at 5 p.m. Aug. 5 at St. Ann Catholic Church, 180 Samuel Blvd. In Coppell.
“As the theme for World Youth Day is ‘Mary arose and went with haste,’ we are going to spend that day focusing on Mary – thinking about the devotion to Mary not just here, but also around the world,” said Jacob Coffman, associate director of Content Development for the diocesan Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministries.
“We’re going to break it up in three sessions. We’ll have a session on Fiat, a session on Magnificat, and we’re going to take a pilgrimage at St. Ann where we go through all the different Marian apparitions that we can to see what we can learn about those and how they speak to our communities here in Dallas,” he added.
At the local World Youth Day event, Coffman said there will be two tracks available: one for high school students and one for young adults, allowing for activities and fellowship for all who attend. Coffman, who attended World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2013, said World Youth Day — for both those making the pilgrimage to Portugal and those participating at home — is an opportunity to witness how big the universal church truly is.
“I think sometimes we get so entrapped in our own cultures that we’re not noticing how cultures throughout the world are influenced by our faith,” Coffman said. “In Lisbon, World Youth Day will bring people of all different backgrounds together to worship the Lord in the same way. We want to bring that same feeling here on Aug. 5 so that everyone can share in this amazing experience.”
To learn more about the Diocese of Dallas’ World Youth Day 2023 pilgrimage and local event, visit www.cathdal.org.