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Have You Heard About World Youth Day 2013?


By Fr. Peter Wigton
Parochial Vicar
St. Mary Cathedral, Gaylord; St. Thomas Aquinas, Elmira; Holy Redeemer, Vanderbilt.

I am excited to have the wonderful privilege of leading a diocesan group of young adults to Rio De Janiero, Brazil, this summer for World Youth Day 2013 to see Pope Benedict XVI. World Youth Day is actually celebrated annually on Palm Sunday, and every few years, an international gathering is held drawing hundreds of thousands of youth from around the globe to see our Holy Father and to listen to his message for young Catholics. More than 2 million young people traveled to Madrid, Spain, in 2011. What is so amazing about these pilgrimages, which were instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1985, is that young people witness the vitality of the universal Church. In Madrid, I encountered people from all walks of life, from every country under the sun. It made me realize that the Church is vibrant and alive, and is so much larger than the Church here in the Diocese of Gaylord. I was awestruck at seeing the work that the Holy Spirit has been doing for the last 2000 years and even more awestruck at what continues to happen. God the Father continues to draw His people to Himself through His Son Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s simple, yet amazing, to witness.

For those who attend, the joy of being with the Holy Father, and so many other young adults, strengthens and enlivens their faith. They return with renewed zeal and share their experiences and deepened faith with their communities back home. Simply put, many youth report that “World Youth Day changed my life” and helped them discover what God is calling them to do with their lives.

Are you in between the ages 18 and 35, and looking to deepen your faith? Well, the Pope wants to talk to you -- and we still have a few spots to fill. During this Year of Faith you are invited to join Bishop Hebda, me, and 22 other young adults from the Diocese of Gaylord on a pilgrimage to Rio. We will be traveling to Brazil on July 22 and returning July 30. If you are interested in going, there is still time, but the deadline is looming. Final commitments have to be made by February 15, 2013.

Cost, including travel, lodging and most meals, is $3,920.00. Bishop Hebda has appointed a fundraising committee for World Youth Day 2013 so that we might assist those with financial need. The goal is to raise at least $40,000 in order to fund scholarships of up to $2000 each to help offset the cost for participants. Sure, it’s a lot of money. But the effort is really an investment in youth of our diocese, since their experiences and deepening of faith will surely enhance our beloved Church here at home. Those who are willing to support this endeavor with a donation may contact Danielle Parish at the Diocesan Pastoral Center at 989.732.5147 or via email at You can also donate online via the diocesan website by  clicking on “Make a Gift.” link on the left of this page. Simply designate your gift for World Youth Day 2013.

If you have questions about World Youth Day or would like to register, please contact me: Fr. Peter Wigton, at St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord at 989.732.5448 or via email at

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