The Catholic parishes of St. John in Columbia, St. Louis in Clarksville, and St. Paul in Ellicott City will host sendoff Masses for parishioners traveling to Cologne, Germany for the 2005 World Youth Day, August 16-21. The Masses, held August 7th, 9:30 a.m. at St Louis, 12 noon at St. John and August 12th, 8 a.m. at St. Paul, will include a blessing and commissioning of the groups of young delegates of the Archdiocese of Baltimore at the 2005 festival. The 27 pilgrims being sent by the parishes will join Cardinal Keeler and 107 other youths and youth ministers to form the delegation from the Archdiocese of Baltimore at World Youth Day.
Following Mass, St. Paul will host a lunch for parish youth and family members in the parish community center. The group will share a meal and then end in a prayer service prior to their departure for Dulles International Airport.
First started in 1985, World Youth Day is “a festival of encounter and solidarity”. Youth between the ages of 16 and 30 gather together from all over the world to strengthen faith and establish identity amongst the Church through prayer, worship, and discussion. The event has been recognized as instrumental to the future of the faith as the next generation of church leaders gathers to share ideas and wrestle with church issues. World Youth Day 05’ will be the first youth celebration for the newly elected Holy Father and will be an important opportunity for youth to identify with the Church’s new figurehead.
While in Germany they will experience 12 days of prayer and self-reflection (led by Pope Benedict XVI), historical sightseeing, and the native Bavarian culture.
To read about the group’s experiences and to see photographs from Germany, visit the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s World Youth Day ’05 section on its web site, www.archbalt.org/wyd2005/.