Some Initial Thoughts for World Youth Day 2016


Oh. Man. Soon. And very soon.

I just wanted to share some initial thoughts primarily as an exercise in actually thinking about this upcoming pilgrimage. I might be home in the U.S. bodily, but I think I’m still mentally and physically in Japan. And I’ve got family in from Canada this weekend so it makes it hard to really focus on this pilgrimage.

  1. Jet lag recovery from returning from Japan the other day has been pretty awesome. That concluded my 14th trip to Japan since April 2015. Landed home at 9:15AM. Back in the office at 11:30AM. I was actually not even painfully tired in the afternoon, for once. My sleep schedule has been normal since returning.
  2. Work colleagues are excited for me, but they keep confusing this trip with my trip to Australia later this year. And they also seem to get that this isn’t a touristy trip around Europe. My boss forgot about this trip so it was an almost shocking reminder for him on my last day at work when I talked to him, but we’re cool. I’m still allowed to go! lol
  3. I remember 3 years ago standing in the lobby of our hostel in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day 2013 watching the closing ceremonies being live streamed at the front desk’s computer. We weren’t able to make it to the closing Mass and ceremonies. When Pope Francis announced that World Youth Day will be in Krakow, Poland in 2016, I immediately resolved to go. $4500 and three years later, it’s happening!
  4. One thing I love about being Catholic is that I really get a good sense of what it means to be a community as a Church especially for events like World Youth Day. I’m joining 20+ others from my parish and 200+ others from my diocese for this pilgrimage as we join millions of others in Krakow. Ain’t no party like a Catholic party (because a Catholic party don’t stop…because it continues for all eternity!)!
  5. Since this is going to be a pilgrimage, I’m accepting of discomforts, sufferings, and things not going to plan. These moments will not be wasted as they will be offered up. Best way to earn experience points on a quest such a this.
  6. Safety. I’ve really been thinking about safety for this trip given the state our world is in. I’m actually a chaperone for this pilgrimage. Keeping everyone safe is my mission and top priority.
  7. Now where did I put my leftover Texas-related trinkets from World Youth Day 2013 so that I can trade with others… (it’s a World Youth Day tradition to trade little things with other pilgrims)
  8. Packing. Still need to do that. Good thing I gave up Netflix for the rest of the month for other intentional purposes so packing should be faster for me. (When packing for Japan, I usually have Netflix on so packing often takes a few hours…)
  9. I still have a lot of errands and tasks to take care of before I leave so it’ll be fast and furious over the next few days. So much to think about!

-JD