World Youth Day logo 2016

Celebrating World Youth Day in Connecticut
By Linda Norton

If you are a teen in 7th – 12th grade looking for a memorable summer experience you’ll want to attend Connecticut’s World Youth Day (WYD) which will be held on Saturday, July 23rd from 1:00 – 5:00 PM at St. Mary’s Church, Portland, CT. The event is sponsored by our Diocese; and teens from all over Connecticut and beyond will be participating. We’d like a good showing from our diocese, so please make every effort to register. You might even seriously consider begging your parish or parents to bring you to this event – it will be that good!
In his shepherdly way, Pope Francis knew that even though there would be millions of youth at the international WYD in Krakow, Poland this July, there would still be many who would not be able to attend, so he encouraged all dioceses in the world to plan their own WYD.
Upon hearing the Pope’s request, Bishop Caggiano, the Bishop of Bridgeport, the World Youth Day Liaison for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), addressed his brother bishops and encouraged them to plan World Youth Day celebrations. According to Liza Roach, our diocesan Youth Minister, Bishop Cote stepped up and the diocese of Norwich became an official sponsor for a World Youth Day event. Liza reached out to area dioceses and has been working with Shawnee Baldwin, Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Hartford, to plan this first ever event for our teens. Our Diocesan Youth Council members will also be helping at the event.
Our World Youth Day theme is “Bridges of Mercy” to compliment the Jubilee Year of Mercy which was initiated by Pope Francis. The day will include presentations by Cooper Ray, a nationally known Catholic speaker and musician from Texas who has ministered at the National Catholic Youth Conference, and Jerusalem Road, a Connecticut based Catholic Praise and Worship ministry. Cross Catholic Outreach will lead an interactive Mercy project.
Bishop Cote will celebrate Mass.
World Youth Day is an enthusiastic event, but it is also a pilgrimage - a spiritual journey that helps us grow in faith and which can involve some sacrifice. So if you are someone who wants to attend but might consider Portland a little too far from your hometown, then this is a great opportunity to embrace the travel distance as part of your pilgrimage experience!
All parishes are encouraged to bring their youth to WYD Connecticut, but teens can also register individually. The fee is $ 15.00 per person. For more information call the Diocese of Norwich’s Office of Faith Events at 860-848-2237.