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Diocesan pilgrims to depart for WYD Aug. 11

By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
(Email Katie)


As final preparations are made for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain, 21 pilgrims from the Diocese of Sioux City are making final plans of their own.

Andrea Jenson, assistant diocesan director of youth and young adult ministry, will accompany, Father Brent Lingle and eight seminarians along with high school and college students and four chaperones on a pilgrimage from Aug. 11-25.

“Any time that we can get away from home and experience our faith is an opportunity for growth,” said Jenson. “World Youth Day in particular is known for miraculous things happening as well as deep conversions taking place, strengthening of faith, finding of someone’s vocation and an opportunity to see how universal the Catholic Church is.”

This will be a repeat trip to World Youth Day (WYD) for 25 percent of the group, she noted.

“Whether they went when it was in Denver, Canada or Australia, they are going for a second time,” said Jenson. “I think that speaks volumes to what a wonderful experience it is, if they are willing to spend the money to go on the pilgrimage again.”

The pilgrimage
Their journey will begin on Aug. 11 when they depart for Portugal. The group will visit the Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima and the birthplaces of Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia to whom the virgin appeared for the first time on May 13, 1917. They will spend two to three days seeing the sites of Our Lady of Fatima.
World Youth Day begins on Aug. 16 and goes through Aug. 21 in Madrid. The group from the diocese will participate in the events planned for WYD.

The theme of WYD is “Planted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith,” a quote from St. Paul. At WYD there will be several activities for the participants including catechesis sessions, youth festivals, concerts, speakers, praise and worship, adoration, confession, Mass with Pope Benedict XVI, a charity soccer match and much more.

There will be several religious orders from all over the world represented. They will have information about their order to share.

Following WYD, the group will visit the sites of Our Lady of Lourdes for three days.

“Since we are already in Europe, it made sense to look at places close to Madrid to go to,” said Jenson. “Two visit the Marian sites of Fatima and Lourdes seemed to fit in well with the theme of World Youth Day and the concept of a pilgrimage.”

What the group looks forward to
This will be Jenson’s first trip to WYD. She said she is looking forward to seeing people from different places and seeing everyone “coming together for a common purpose.”

“I decided to go after I was asked, better yet, told by Andrea Jenson that I was going,” said Father Brent Lingle, director of worship for the diocese and parochial vicar at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City. “Since I work in the chancery and am involved in various ministries and could get coverage in the parish, it has all worked out. It is also useful that I am fluent in Spanish.”

Although he is not looking forward to sleeping outside at the all night vigil, Father Lingle thinks “it will be a great blessing to participate in the Mass with Pope Benedict.” 

He said he is particularly looking forward to visiting Fatima and Lourdes and paying honor to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“Obviously the role of the Blessed Mother is important in the church as one who is our best model of the Christian life, following God’s will without reservation. I am looking forward to visiting these places where our Blessed Mother has appeared.”

Brian Feller, a seminarian from St. Andrew Parish in Sibley, will be attending WYD for the first time. Father Brad Pelzel, the vocations director, had recommended that Feller go on this pilgrimage.

He is looking forward to seeing the universal church together for WYD.

Camille Pickhinke, a parishioner at Sacred Heart in Early, decided to go to World Youth Day because it's something she has always wanted to do.

“I felt now was an opportune time due to a few different factors,” she said. “World Youth Day is a blessed opportunity to experience my faith in a radically sacred way with the youth of the world.”  

She is looking forward to the opportunity to experience the universal church and “witness the universal call to holiness on a global scale.” 

“It will be beautiful to experience the unity in Christ amidst the diversity of people,” said Pickhinke. “Most of all I am looking forward to a spiritual transformation, the opportunity to experience Christ and his love in a deep and personal way; to come to know the person of Jesus Christ in an extreme way.” 

She said she plans on doing research about Fatima and Lourdes prior to visiting the sites so she may come to appreciate them more.  She is confident that after visiting these sites they will hold a great significance for her.

Pilgrimage updates
There will be updates on the Diocese of Sioux City website, www. scdiocese.org, sharing what the group has been experiencing and what they are doing day by day.

Anyone interested in being on an email list to receive email updates should contact Andrea Jenson at andreaj @scdiocese.org, prior to Aug. 10.


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