Would you like to pray with the Pope and meet young Catholics from around the entire world?  Would you like to travel to Spain, France, and Portugal? 

Little Flower’s high school-age parishioners have an opportunity to pilgrimage with a LF parish team as part of the Archdiocese of Washington’s contingent to World Youth Day 2023!  

This international gathering of hundreds of thousands young Catholics from around the world would truly be a significant faith experience in the lives of our teens.  Each pilgrim would grow in their personal faith yet be together with hundreds of thousands of other young people who share common interests and ambitions.  Our group could then bring back the joy and excitement of the experience to our parish.

This year’s gathering will be held in Lisbon, Portugal and the pilgrimage will also take us to Madrid, Barcelona, Lourdes, Covadonga, Santiago de Compostela, Fatima, and Santerem.  Parents of teens age 15-18 are encouraged to prayerfully consider this amazing opportunity for their child.  This spiritual journey gives a young person a perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to personally experience the universality of the Catholic Church while deepening their faith through a powerful experience with the Pope and young people from around the world. 

The ADW's group is small and we've been asked to have a verbal commitment of participation to the organizers by Dec. 10.  If we have sufficient interest we will proceed with a deposit, otherwise we'll pass our spot to another parish on the wait list. 

Please let us know if you’re preliminarily interested by completing the Interest Form HERE (or below these details) ASAP.

SOME BACKGROUND:   WHAT IS WORLD YOUTH DAY?

World Youth Day is a worldwide encounter with the Pope celebrated every 2-3 years in a different country. St. John Paul II instituted the annual observance of World Youth Day in 1985 as an annual gathering of youth and young adults for prayer, worship, and celebration of the Catholic faith. Since then, World Youth Day has been celebrated each year by the global Church. Every two or three years, an international gathering is held to bring all the youth and young adults together in one place with the Holy Father.

Pope John Paul II left a legacy for the youth by his institution of World Youth Day. Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have faithfully continued to carry on this legacy, demonstrating the hope of the pontiff for the youth of the world by inviting them and commissioning them to be faithful living witnesses as Christ’s disciple.

Learn more about World Youth Day, at the Official World Youth Day Site.

WHEN AND WHERE IS WORLD YOUTH DAY 2023?

WYD 2023 will be headquartered in Lisbon Portugal.   Our group will travel on a pre-excursion to visit Lourdes, France and Santiago de Compostela, Spain so our travel dates will be July 26 – August 7, 2023.

WHO CAN ATTEND?

The pilgrimage is open to our young parishioners ages 15-18.  Our parochial vicar, Fr. Tom Robertson, and Youth Ministry Coordinator, Linda Kueter, will chaperone our trip.  We will participate as part of a group coordinated by the Archdiocese of Washington’s Youth Ministry Office consisting of other parish teens and their chaperones.  See their website HERE if you would like to learn more (not for registration yet.)

In accordance with U.S. travel policies, pilgrims would need to have a valid US passport that does not expire within 6 mos. of our return.  The Archdiocese is requiring that all pilgrims be vaccinated against Covid-19.  This is a precautionary measure in case countries change their current vaccination policies.

WHAT IS THE ITINERARY? 

Our preliminary itinerary is as follows:

  • Weds, July 26 – Travel Day, departure from Dulles Airport arriving in Madrid, Spain

  • Thurs, July 27 - Travel Day, Madrid to Barcelona to Lourdes, France

  • Fri, July 28 – Visiting the city and shrine, welcome dinner

  • Sat, July 29 – Travel Day from Lourdes to Covadonga, Spain

  • Sun, July 30 - Travel Day from Covadonga to Santiago de Compostela

  • Mon, July 31 – Visiting the city of Santiago de Compostela

  • Tues, August 1 through Sun, August 6 -in Lisbon, Portugal. We are awaiting official schedule from the WYD organization but pending activities include Opening Ceremonies, evening prayer vigils and Mass with the Holy Father; visits to Fatima, site of the 1917 apparitions of Our Lady, and Santerem, site of a Eucharistic miracle; WYD Festival activities, Mass, rosary, retreat and catechesis opportunities; Stations of the Cross; and more

  • Mon, August 7 – Travel Day, Lisbon to Madrid to Dulles Airport

WHAT COMPANY IS THE ADW USING FOR TRAVEL?

The Archdiocese of Washington is bringing a group comprised of teens and chaperones from multiple parishes.  Like other dioceses, they have chosen Dube Travel as the trip's organizer.  Dube has been in business since 1962 and doing WYD pilgrimages since 1997.  Their long-established European partner, Aliantour, is the official travel company for WYD.  Once we confirm our group’s attendance, pilgrims will join through the ADW website.

WHAT IS THE INVESTMENT FOR EACH PILGRIM?

A journey of this kind requires the support of many through prayers and contributions. The estimated cost for the 13-day trip is $3,800 per person. Most fees are included, however you would need to plan for spending money and some lunches on your own. We would have some fundraisers and sponsorship opportunities to reduce costs and purchase some incidentals like shirts and pins to trade.  With the total amount spread over multiple payments, we hope this makes it possible for any young people who feel called to go.

A $500 deposit will be required with official registration soon.  Other payments are due in March 2023 and May 2023 or can follow a monthly payment plan.

  • There is a cancellation fee of $1,000.00 from March 1, 2023, to May 1, 2023. After May 1, 2023 all payments are non-refundable. 
  • The pilgrimage package does not include travel insurance, however the purchase of travel insurance with emergency medical benefits is highly recommended.

WHEN/HOW DO I SIGN UP?

The time to express interest is NOW!  Our spot in the registration line is only open for 10 days.

If you think you might be interested, complete the form and we’ll contact you to discuss details to help you make a final decision about participation.  You can contact Fr. Tom/Linda anytime with any questions.