Arlington Teens Travel to Poland to see Pope Francis


"No secular event can draw as many teens as World Youth Day. No great battle, march, or rock concert comes close to the magnitude of that massive gathering..."

Catholic News Agency

ARLINGTON Va. - At this very moment more than 150 teenagers and young adults from the Catholic Diocese of Arlington are packing their suitcases and backpacks for World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland.  Instituted by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1986, it's a week-long pilgrimage held every two or three years which gives youth an opportunity to connect with peers from all over the world and to grow deeper in faith.  It runs July 25 to July 31, and culminates with an outdoor Mass with Pope Francis. A crowd 2 million is expected.

 "A pilgrimage is different from a trip or vacation," says Kevin Bohli, Director of the Arlington Diocese's Office of Youth Ministry. "It is not about a destination, or going to see something or someone. It's meant to help us to learn more about ourselves and grow in faith as a result of our journey there and back."

Bohli says the teens have been fundraising at their parishes for two years.

"I am sure God will reveal Himself to me and my fellow pilgrims in ways only possible during World Youth Day," says Michael Golinowski, a rising junior at Saint John Paul the Great High School in Dumfries, Virginia.

Margaret Walker, an 18 year-old from St. Ambrose parish says she wants to meet Jesus in a way she has never met him before. This will be her second time at World Youth Day.  "I was drawn to the idea of millions of people just like me, teens living counter culturally in this millennium, coming together from all over the world to listen to Jesus. We may all have different lives, different languages, different societies, and different faces, but during this week, all that matters is that our faith unites us," she said.

The teens will leave Dulles International Airport on two different days: Monday, July 18th Sunday, July 24th

"God's voice in our lives can be heard in so many ways, including through meeting with other believers," said Bishop Paul S. Loverde. "As our youth prepares to embark on this international pilgrimage with millions of their peers from around the world, I pray that they will hear God's voice and deepen their faith as they celebrate the Lord's Divine Mercy."


Angela Pellerano, Director of Media Relations for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington 703-841-2517, 571-215-8731 (mobile),