World Youth Day USA Guides Stateside Pilgrimage Leaders Guide - Page 17

Encounter, Accompany, Send: The Role of the World Youth Day Pilgrimage Leader Coordinating a successful stateside gathering on mission. The encounter, the for World Youth Day can be daunting for accompanying, and the sending do not just anyone. With all the logistics to worry about happen on their own. As Pope Francis said, and the responsibility of spiritually Jesus Christ “goes before us and guides us.” accompanying a cohort of disciples, any type The choice to engage in the encounter, to be of World Youth Day gathering can fill accompanied, and to be sent is ours, though. ministry leaders with great anxiety. Yet despite It is never forced; it is a free choice in this, pastoral leaders continue to step forward response to an invitation from Jesus Christ. and take on the mantle of a pilgrim leader, stateside or internationally, in communion The invitation from Jesus Christ comes in with the Holy Father. many ways. The ministry of the stateside pilgrimage leader is invaluable for assisting 'Do not be afraid!' When we go to that invitation. proclaim Christ, it is he himself who goes before us and guides us. When he sent his These leaders serve World Youth Day disciples on mission, he promised: 'I am pilgrims in a unique and privileged way, by with you always' (Mt 28:20). And this is helping open the door to Jesus Christ who also true for us! Jesus does not leave us encounters, accompanies and sends those alone, he never leaves you alone! He who participate in the experience. God has 8 always accompanies you. called many ministry leaders to the important service to be co-workers in his vineyard. The Pope Francis preached these words to over pilgrimage leader, then, is engaged in the three million people gathered on Copacabana evangelizing work of the Holy Spirit in and Beach in Rio de Janeiro and millions more through the Church that sends the baptized around the world who participated in World on mission to encounter, accompany, and Youth Day 2013. He gave everyone a send others. Pictures, mementos, and mandate to live their encounter with Jesus memories are not the only things that should Christ, trusting that he accompanies and sends be left from the experience of stateside and 8 Pope Francis, Homily for Closing Mass on the Occasion of XXVIII World Youth Day, Rio de Janeiro, July 28, 2013, 2. 15