QUEENSLAND’S bishops and youth ministers are close to finalising plans for “an enriching spiritual experience for young people” headed to World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow.
The tentative pilgrimage includes visits to surrounding countries with a spiritual focus on St John Paul II, the WYD’s founder and Polish citizen.
The package also includes a post-WYD retreat in a European country still to be confirmed.
About 50 people are expected to register for the Queensland pilgrimage, with a potential option to purchase a direct package to attend the WYD week.
This will also be the first WYD pilgrimage since Cologne in 2005 where young people from all five Queensland dioceses will attend the major youth festival together.
Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Rockhampton and Toowoomba dioceses have chosen one representative to co-ordinate pilgrims for the 2016 group pilgrimage.
Queensland pilgrimage co-ordinator and Townsville youth ministry co-ordinator Mary McAuliffe said the 2016 WYD pilgrimage would be an opportunity for all five dioceses to unite.
Mrs McAuliffe said regional areas found it difficult to sustain their own pilgrimage groups, and a larger state representation would ensure resources could be shared across the state.
“We will be able to support each other in building up our Queensland identity,” Mrs McAuliffe said.
The Queensland bishops hoped the WYD pilgrimage would be an affordable but edifying experience, she said.
WYD Krakow will be Mrs McAuliffe’s sixth pilgrimage to the world’s largest youth gathering.
“I’m just excited being with people who are excited about Jesus,” Mrs McAuliffe said.
“The legacy of St John Paul II means there will be lots of excited people in Poland.”
Brisbane WYD representative Zach Woodward said the youth gathering opened his eyes up to the “worldwide Church”.
Mr Woodward said WYD could motivate young people to be active Catholics.
“My hope is people who go to WYD, come back and share their experiences, and become active members in the Church,” he said.
The Brisbane archdiocese will hold a WYD information session in April next year.