World Youth Day USA Guides Stateside Pilgrimage Leaders Guide - Page 14

the international experience, can be What is being asked of leaders and planners is memorable in their own ways. to see the bigger possibility of what World Youth Day can be. Since 1984, over half a Finally, what happens when the stateside million young people from the United States activities are finished and the international have been impacted directly by physical pilgrims come back home? The hope of the participation at World Youth Day. How many community is that the stateside pilgrim has came back to communities without the not just been watching television and the mission or permission to work for the international pilgrim has not just had a transformation of the Church? How many vacation and snapped a few pictures. youth and young adults, who did not have the opportunity to travel to World Youth Day, The hope is that all these pilgrims have had an were never engaged or transformed experience of encounter and transformation themselves by such experiences? The so that they might transform their community is and must be integral to the communities. Such an experience is a grace, pilgrim’s story. In more recent times, digital but it is also difficult to achieve if there is no media has increased the access of non- intentionality on the part of the community, pilgrims to engage the experience, but left to the leadership, and the pilgrim upon their chance and mere consumption, there is no return. Evenings of reflection where the guarantee this will bear fruit. It may even stateside and international pilgrims report garner a negative result. The choice to be back to the community or offer gifts to the made is in how to engage those who remain, community are ways of making a lasting especially utilizing the benefits that impression on others and help solidify the technology offers. impact of World Youth Day. At times, people of faith come off the Imagine the simple action of a hundred mountaintop of a pilgrimage, retreat, or pilgrims each bringing ten rosaries that mission trip and don’t know what to do next. were blessed in a sacred shrine and then They may forget that the community, founded giving them out to 1,000 people as an in the Eucharist, is the source of the pilgrim’s invitation to deepen their prayer life and journey and, ultimately, their final destination. solidarity with others. What is done to cultivate this communal understanding will help determine if the 12