||Bishop Robert C. Morlino preaches at the World Youth Day send-off Mass July 19 at the Bishop O’Connor Center in Madison. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)
In the first week of August, Pope Francis will meet hundreds of thousands of young people, including nearly 140 from Madison, in Krakow, Poland, to teach the young about the mercy of Christ in this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.
This year's World Youth Day theme is: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Mt 5:7).
Youth from diocese
The youth of Madison are travelling in primarily two groups: one from St. Paul University Catholic Center in Madison, led by Fr. Eric Nielsen, and the other led by Fr. Brian Dulli.
Father Nielsen's group is mostly comprised of students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Father Dulli's group includes two priests (Father Dulli and Fr. Scott Francis Binet, a priest of the Order of St. Camillus), two Missionary Benedictine sisters (Sisters Gabriella and Fidelis), one young woman in discernment with the Sisters' community, and three seminarians from the Diocese of Madison, in addition to youth from St. Ambrose Academy and parishes from across the diocese.
"God has many good things in store for this pilgrimage, in the Year of Mercy and in the land of Divine Mercy," Father Dulli told the pilgrims as they prepared for their journey.
Departing for Poland
Both groups of pilgrims left from Chicago on July 19, one bound for Prague (via Zurich) and the other Gdansk (via Frankfurt).
Families and community back home are now enjoying frequent social media postings of the pilgrims as Father Nielsen's group explores the cobblestone streets and castles of Prague while Father Dulli's group is refreshed by the lovely beaches of the Baltic Sea while walking along the longest wooden pier in Europe, which reaches out into the Bay of Gdansk from Sopot.
Both groups plan visits to Czestochowa, pilgrim sites related to the life of St. John Paul II, and visits to the concentration camps (Auschwitz and Birkenau) where so many Poles, including St. Maximilian Kolbe, suffered at the hands of the Nazis.
Click here to see photos from the send-off Mass with Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison and from World Youth Day in Poland.