Youth from junior high and high school as well as young adults should make plans to be a part of the local version in August of the international World Youth Day.
Planning began in September 2017 for what the Youth Ministry at the Diocese of Beaumont hopes will light a spiritual fire in the local youth through a free event on Aug. 4 at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica in Beaumont.
Local World Youth Day’s events will begin with a pilgrimage walk at 11 a.m. starting at First Baptist Church on the corner of Magnolia and Calder. The one-mile walk will end at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica School where food trucks, vendors and two stages will be waiting. On stage will be guest speakers, musicians and cultural entertainers until the event ends at 11 p.m. Guest speakers include Noelle Garcia, Jaime Thietten, Brian Butler, Father Steven A. Bell and members of the house band, Jesus Team A.
Bishop Curtis Guillory, SVD, will be celebrating Mass as part of the event. Adoration and opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation will be available throughout the day.
Local World Youth Day started with a smaller team inspired to bring the excitement of World Youth Day to Beaumont and has grown to include many ministries.
“We all are part of this event,” said Ailene Luistro, Coordinator of Youth Ministry at the Diocese of Beaumont. “We’re working very hard to bring this opportunity to the parishes’ youth ministries.”
World Youth Day began in 1984 where over 300,000 young people from around the world responded to the invitation of His Holiness John Paul II for an International Jubilee of Youth on Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s square. Since then, World Youth Day has continued internationally every two to three years with millions of people participating. The next World Youth Day will be in 2019 at Panama City, Panama.
For those unable to attend the worldwide event, Local World Youth Day provides a fantastic opportunity for people ages 13 to 29 to participate, though all are encouraged to attend this free event.
“We wanted to reach out to those on the peripheries, the young people that might only occasionally attend events or celebrate Mass,” Luistro said. “By modeling this event after World Youth Day, we want to ensure everyone can share this experience.”
Volunteers are also needed. Volunteer opportunities range from working water stations to help at the First Aid tent. Anyone with musical talents is welcome to inquire about joining choir groups for both youth and adults. For more information about volunteering, contact Kelly delaRosa at firstname.lastname@example.org and those interested in joining a choir or musical group should contact Rosalind Sanchez at email@example.com.
“We are expecting anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 people to attend,” Luistro explained. “We could use all the help anyone wishes to give. Especially lots of volunteers for the day of.”
All junior high, high school and recent high school graduate students wishing to register should contact their parish youth ministers while all young adults have been requested to register directly with the Youth Ministry office at (409) 924-5358 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information will be available via social media.
“We are excited to give the Church community this opportunity and are praying for all to come,” Luistro emphasized. “It will be a day no one will easily forget!”