World Youth Day USA Guides International Pilgrimage Leaders Guide - Page 29

3. World Youth Day is a celebration understood. The pilgrim leader, then, must help in community and communion. to direct such energy towards true celebration, so that pilgrims themselves do not fall into the Being in the midst of millions of young people, temptation of seeing such a gathering as a fun all wildly enthusiastic about their Catholic faith overseas excursion. This is why spiritual and their love of Christ and the Gospel, is preparation and accompaniment is so crucial to breathtaking and truly exciting. Throughout the the pilgrim experience, so that the joyful week, as one walks through the streets of the aspects of World Youth Day are contextualized host city, the contagious buzz of young pilgrims in authentic happiness. meeting each other, singing songs, praying with one voice, and experiencing new things is quite Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, patron of young palpable. World Youth Day is truly a adults, once remarked: “true happiness, oh celebration, and that energy can be felt by not young people, does not consist in the pleasures only the participants, but by local and of the world, or in earthly things, but in peace international observers, the media, and of conscience which we only have if we are bystanders – Catholic and non-Catholic alike. pure of heart and mind.”31 In a note to his sister (which Pope Benedict XVI referenced in Massive events like this can sometimes gain a his 2012 WYD message), Frassati commented, reputation of being just a party, or as some “You ask me if I am happy. How could I not have put it, “Catholic Woodstock.” This misses be? As long as faith gives me strength, I am what is really going on at World Youth Day: it happy. A Catholic could not be other than is a celebration of faith, of being in community happy... The goal for which we were created and communion with fellow believers and involves a path which has its thorns, but it is travelers, all seeking the Lord, and perhaps not a sad path. It is joy, even when it involves pleasantly surprised they do not have to walk pain.”32 Happiness at World Youth Day, then, that path alone. All of this expresses itself in a is about naming and finding joy in the graces joyful energy that is hard to contain and can be given to pilgrims – that all blessings have their misinterpreted if left unchecked or not origin in God. Frassati, Pier Giorgio, “Letter to Members of the Catholic Youth of Pollone (July 29, 1923),” qtd. in Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: An Ordinary Christian by Maria Di Lorenzo. Trans. Robert Ventresca (Boston: Pauline Books & Media, 2004), 123. 32 Frassati, Pier Giorgio, “Letter to Luciana Frassati (February 14, 1925),” qtd. in “Message of the Holy Father on the Occasion of the Twenty-Seventh World Youth Day” by Pope Benedict XVI. (Vatican City: Liberia Editice Vaticana, 2012), 6. 31 27