A Journey of Mercy - World Youth Day 2016

On 14th July, 16 pilgrims from our diocese will begin a Journey of Mercy to World Youth Day 2016 (WYD) in Krakow, Poland.

Krakow was the home of St John Paul II and St Faustina. Both saints known for being ever aware of the mercy of God.

Our group will be led by Bishop Michael McKenna and will include a pilgrimage to the Holy Door in Rome as well attending a festival in Lodz, Poland run by the Archdiocese of Lodz and the Community du Chemin Neuf. This Festival in Lodz, will be an Ecumenical gathering of over 8,000 young people. It will be attended by Cardinal Tagle and Archbishop Justin Welby, the leader of the worldwide Anglican communion.

Our diocesan pilgrimage is by no means a holiday. It is a chance to stop and reflect on the journey of life so far and a chance to really experience mercy in the lives of each pilgrims. Each pilgrim has a different reason for wanting to travel to World Youth Day and each pilgrim will have a different experience.

Introducing our pilgrims: 

Daniel Salomoni
Parish: St. Mary of the Presentation Catholic Parish, Mudgee
Reason for going to WYD: To discern and grow more mature in my faith.
What are you most excited about? I am most excited about meeting other like-minded young people who have a passion for God and the Catholic Church.
What will be the most challenging for you? I think the most challenging thing for me will be leaving Poland and saying goodbye to the experience and fellow pilgrims
What are you looking forward to the most? Meeting other like-minded young people who share a passion for God and his Church.
Favourite Polish Food: I honestly cannot say as I have not tried any polish food as of yet, but I am looking forward to experiencing the Polish culture and tasting the food on the pilgrimage.                                                                                                                          


Eliza Biddle
Parish: St. Mary of the Presentation Catholic Parish, Mudgee
Reason for going to WYD: To be part of celebrating Catholicism with young Catholics from all over the world and to be able to relate new ideas and ways of worship into my own RE classroom.
What are you most excited about? Visiting Rome and the Vatican, particularly the art and architecture.
What will be the most challenging for you? The long flight.
What are you looking forward to the most? Getting amongst the crowd and meeting other young Catholics.
Favourite Polish Food: I don’t have one so I’m really looking forward to trying some Polish cuisine for the first time.


Madeline Beck 
Parish: Cathedral Parish, Bathurst
Reason for going to WYD? To further develop my relationship with Christ and take up
any crosses that will come my way with a humble heart.
What are you most excited about? To have my husband, Darryl with me will bring great joy. I went on the pilgrimage to Rio in 2013 and had a wonderful time - it will be exciting to share this with him. Darryl and I are looking forward to engaging with the Chemin Neuf Community while we travel.
What will be the most challenging for you? To avoid packing too much! I learnt this from the last pilgrimage. Carrying too much weighs you down physically as well as spiritually. You really have to think hard about what basic necessities you will need. Also, the challenge of living closely with others for a few weeks can make for an interesting experience, but a valuable one. A pilgrimage is not a holiday, but an opportunity to live in joy outside of your comfort zone. You learn to pull together as a group when circumstances are exciting and when they become difficult.
What are you looking forward to the most? I like meeting other young people of faith and the opportunities for Catechesis. It’s interesting to note that some of the companions I met during the Rio journey were guests at our wedding last year - you can establish lasting friendships and connections.  
Favourite Polish food: I haven’t tried any yet, but I’m looking forward to tasting new cuisine in Italy and Poland.


Matthew Gibson
Parish: Cathedral Parish, Bathurst
Reason for going to WYD? I have been to WYD in 2008 in Sydney and wanted to have the experience again in another country. I want to be able to explore other cultures and their traditions through this celebration and bring back my experiences to share with my class and school community here in Australia to promote this event in the future.
What are you most excited about? The entire trip! Travelling to countries I have never been before, with people I do not know and immersing myself in the cultures surrounding us on our trip.
What will be the most challenging for you? I think the whole trip will be challenging on some level, we have a packed schedule and there will be many eye-opening experiences. That said, I am ready to take on any challenge that comes my way to make the trip the most positive experience it can be.
What are you looking forward to the most? The final night of the WYD Festival. I remember the sleep-out at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney as being a huge mix of people from all over the world with a common purpose as being such a positive experience. It was such a great event and I can’t wait for that again with Australians as the minority group sharing our culture with the rest of the world.  
Favourite Polish food? I had to Google Polish food to find out anything about it, but any food is good food so I will let you know when I get back!


Amy Sullivan

Parish: Parish of St Joseph and St Mary, Orange
Reason for going to WYD? This will be my fourth WYD. I love being able to celebrate being Christian with so many people from all over the world!
What are you most excited about? I'm most excited to see what this WYD has in store for me. Each one is different, and I'm looking forward to seeing how I will be surprised or even challenged.
What will be the most challenging for you? The most challenging part will be pacing myself to last the full pilgrimage.
What are you looking forward to the most? I'm looking forward to the final Mass. Each country does the Mass differently and I want to see how the Polish do it.
Favourite Polish food: Can't go past pierogi!

Josh Meyers
Parish: Cathedral Parish, Bathurst
Reason for going to WYD? I have fond memories of my first WYD pilgrimage in Sydney. I would like to create new memories as well as developing networks, experience new cultures and form new friendships with others who share the same faith. I also going on this pilgrimage to further explore and deepen my faith and help find my calling in life.
What are you most excited about? I am excited about the whole WYD experience as a whole, I am excited about the WYD festivals leading up to WYD week. I am also excited about returning to Italy and the Vatican.
What will be the most challenging for you? Probably getting my head around the Polish language and making sure I pronounce things correctly.
What are you looking forward to the most? I’m really looking forward to the actual WYD week, staying with a Polish family for a week, meeting new people from all over the world and Papal Vigil Mass in Krakow.
Favourite Polish food? I am yet to try any Polish food but I am willing to give anything a go as it all looks quiet delicious.

Amber Calleja

Parish: Parish of St Joseph and St Mary, Orange  
Reason for going on Pilgrimage? As a Religious Education Coordinator, it is important for me to develop my faith if I am to be an authentic witness to my students. I have, thankfully, been given many chances to do so by my school and the Catholic Education Office and these opportunities have allowed me to consider my faith and its role in my everyday life. I often encourage my students to reflect on their faith and take up opportunities to deepen it, so I feel that by attending WYD, I am providing a positive role model to those I teach and encounter every day.
What are you most excited about? Every part of the pilgrimage that I have heard about so far sounds wonderful to me. Encountering different people, places and cultures will be amazing. I have spent most of my time as a teacher talking about important historical places such as Rome and incredible, vibrant Catholic gatherings such as WYD, so to be able to experience them will be something I have no doubt that I will remember for the rest of my life.
What will be the most challenging for you? So much time away from my family will be a challenge. I know that my absence will be felt by my husband and two young children. However, I have always told my children that it is important to take up these opportunities when they come along, that you cannot let homesickness or fear allow you to miss out on something that can change your life and perspective forever.
What are you looking forward to the most? I am looking forward to visiting all of the beautiful religious places in Rome, staying with a host family in Poland and every part of the WYD experience itself, but especially the Mass with Pope Francis. I think all Catholics would agree that he is an inspiration and seeing him, even from a great distance, will be incredible.
Favourite Polish food? This is something I have yet to discover! I am envisioning hearty meals. Who doesn't love diving into some delicious comfort food?


 WYD Facts: 
Registered Pilgrims: 583,876 
Registered Groups: 4,229
Number of Bishops attending: 771 
Amount of meals served during the World Youth Day week: At least 12 million 


Joshua Clayton

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