World Youth Day USA Guides Stateside Pilgrimage Leaders Guide - Page 18

international WYDs. Rather, a deeper Benedict XVI stated, and Pope Francis encounter with Jesus Christ and his Church repeated in his apostolic exhortation: “Being who accompanies the pilgrims and sends Christian is not the result of an ethical choice them forth to “go and make disciples”9 (Mt or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an 28:19) should be the first and foremost goal event, a person, which gives life a new of any World Youth Day pilgrimage leader. horizon and a decisive direction.”11 ENCOUNTER World Youth Day is an opportunity offered There are a variety of encounters that take by the Church to all young people to place in a World Youth Day pilgrimage, encounter Christ. Many people have talked stateside or otherwise: with Jesus Christ, with about their experience of World Youth Day as the Church, with other pilgrims, and with “life changing” for them. They experience anyone who shares the Catholic faith or not. Christ and his Church in a unique and special Each encounter is an opportunity and way. Leaders need to recognize this experience of growth in life in Christ. The opportunity for themselves and for the pilgrim leader helps to make all those pilgrims. Sometimes, though, it may seem encounters possible, memorable, and lasting. challenging to some to even consider an encounter with Jesus Christ. As Pope Francis An Encounter with Jesus Christ notes, utilizing the often-used language of Pope Francis invites “all Christians, Pope Benedict XVI, the encounter is really everywhere, at this very moment, to a the developing of a “friendship” with Jesus.12 renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, Friendship is something that people can easily or at least an openness to letting him understand, even if it is with God. The encounter them.”10 What does it mean to pilgrimage leader can assist pilgrims in have a “personal encounter with Jesus developing that relationship for the first time Christ”? It means experiencing him in the or deepen the young person’s friendship with Sacraments, in the Scriptures, in prayer, in Jesus Christ. In order to do that, though, the others, and in service. This encounter is at the pilgrim leader needs to have and continually core of who we are as Christians. As Pope renew their