A high school member of St. Paul Parish in Highland is teaming with a group of young adults from St. Boniface Parish in Edwardsville to travel with Springfield Diocese Bishop Thomas John Paprocki to Krakow, Poland, to attend World Youth Day.
Polly Czar of Highland, a member of St. Paul Parish, is joining the group of seven St. Boniface members, including her aunt, St. Boniface director of worship Jill Griffin, chaperone Joan Green and five members of St. Boniface’s youth group.
“We’ve never attended a World Youth Day event before. This year, however, our diocese is sponsoring a trip, because Bishop Paprocki is Polish, and he has actually studied in Poland,” Griffin said. “He’s going to go over for the event, and the diocese thought it would be great to have a pilgrimage for the different parishes of the diocese to go with him.”
Griffin said that after she asked a priest who had been on past World Youth Day trips come visit the St. Boniface young adult group to talk about his experiences, the kids were immediately on board, and the trip was planned.
Griffin said that 3.5 million people are expected at the actual WYD event
“Our tour is 11 days (July 22-Aug. 1, 2016), with World Youth Day being only about seven of those days,” Griffin said. “We added a few days, so that we can see Auschwitz, Birkenau and Wadowice, the hometown of St. John Paul II.
“This will be a wonderful experience, because we’ll be traveling with our bishop. The neat thing is, since Bishop Parocki is going with us, he’ll be celebrating Mass with us every day.
“While our kids are confirmed by him, they don’t ever really get to see him any other time. I thought this would be a great opportunity to get to know him, since he’s our local leader.”
Since the trip will cost several thousand dollars per person, the group of young adults has been hosting fundraisers to assist with the expense.
The group is hosting an e-waste recycling event from 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday, May 16 at the Highland Knights of Columbus Hall, to help raise money to pay for the trip’s expenses.
“They take cell phones, computer towers, laptops, servers — Christmas lights too,” Griffin said. “If you’re cleaning out your homes or offices, you can bring pretty much anything with a cord or that’s metal. The only thing they don’t accept are TVs unless they are flat screens.”
Other items accepted for recycling include fax machines, scanners, digital converter boxes, cable receivers, satellite receivers, video game consoles, digital video disc player/recorders, portable digital music players, CDs, DVDs, monitors, printers, cables and peripherals like keyboards and mice.
They also accept home electronics such as blenders, toasters and irons. A complete list of acceptable items can be found at www.cjdecycling.com/electronics.
World Youth Day began in March of 1985 when more than 300,000 young people from around the world responded to the invitation of Pope John Paul II for an International Jubilee of youth on Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s square. The following year on Palm Sunday, the Pope welcomed the youth of the world to Rome again and later proclaimed the institution of World Youth Day. The first official World Youth Day took place in 1986.
Although World Youth Day is recognized every year, about every two years an official gathering takes place with a pilgrimage of young adults aged 16 to 24.
For Czar, the trip not only means spending time with other Catholic youth, but she also looks forward to traveling with family.
“I’m excited for the trip and all the experiences that I’ll have, and it will be extra special sharing it with Aunt Jill,” she said.