World Youth Day USA Guides International Pilgrimage Leaders Guide - Page 9

tempting as it might be to focus completely origin. A pilgrim does not exist in isolation, but on those essential tasks (especially as the is surrounded by an abundance of international journey draws closer), the leader relationships rooted in a community from must always return to the pilgrims themselves. which he or she comes. The Pilgrim’s Community The Olympics clearly demonstrate to us the These young pilgrims, however, are not role of community. Much of the media isolated individuals. Not only do they have coverage surrounding the Olympics is the their particular concerns and perspectives, stories of the athletes and their relationships they also have a community that raised them, and experiences back home. We hear the supports them, and sends them forth. stories of the high school coach who never got rich, but always inspired others to do their So for each pilgrim, ask yourself: best, or maybe the sweetheart back home who  Where are they coming from? is under hardship or the parents who  What are the blessings and burdens of the sacrificed everything to make this moment community from which they come? possible. In every city or village who has an Olympian going to compete, everyone there is More often than not, the question asked of invested and glued to the television, radio, or World Youth Day pilgrims is usually: “Where news reports during the international are they [the pilgrims] going?” The stories so competition, wherever that might be. often told about a pilgrim are the stories of the pilgrim's journey to someplace. But any The story of the pilgrim without the context good storyteller (and any good pilgrim leader) of the community is incomplete. A million will remind other, “That is not the full story.” people gather for World Youth Day carrying All stories start from some place, and that place flags of their countries—the communities has an impact. In fact, the pilgrim’s story is from which they came. A full pilgrimage not over until after the hero returns home, encompasses not just getting from point A to back to his or her community (and, in many point B. Pilgrims come from a community, and instances, the story continues on well after the journey as a community, to encounter the adventure). What tends to be overlooked, in Lord, so that they can return transformed to the our popular culture as well as in the World community from which they came and Youth Day story, is the pilgrim’s community of transform that community. 7