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An article shared by

Dio Comms Team

Published on

August 19, 2022

Every two, three or four years an international gathering of young people from all over the world is held in a city chosen by the Pope. It is a pilgrimage, a celebration of youth, an expression of the universal Church and an intense moment of evangelization. It brings together millions of young people to celebrate their faith and sense of belonging to the Church. The next International World Youth Day will be hosted in Lisbon, Portugal in 2023. Young Catholics aged 18-35 are invited to attend and can find out more at https://pndiocese.org.nz/wyd2023

Some past pilgrims from the Diocese of Palmerston North share their experiences of World Youth Day’s in 2008, 2011 and 2016 below. 

“I attended World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain in 2011. The most amazing thing for me was seeing so many cultures from around the world come together sharing the same faith. I loved meeting people from different countries and still keep in touch with friends from Spain and Poland.”
Renee Vaz, WYD 2011


“The journey to WYD 2011 in Spain was an amazing experience I’m so grateful to have had. It was amazing to see, feel and be a part of so many holy and sacred places that I had only ever read about before. To experience WYD itself for me was the realization that we as Catholics are one person that make up something so much bigger and who are so connected all over the world.”
Tracey Radford, WYD 2011


Lower North Island pilgrimage group on the steps of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary at Lourdes, France (2011)

“World Youth Day is an absolute blast and a must-do for all young Catholics. I thoroughly recommend this event to anyone who is after a life-giving and transformative Christian faith experience!”
Tom Dravitzki, WYD 2008 & 2016

“From my personal experiences with two World Youth Days, I would certainly recommend it to anyone thinking of going. Leaving home and traveling on my own at a young age was pretty terrifying but going as part of a youth group made it a safe way for me to see different parts of the world and experience different cultures. Through both pilgrimages I made very special friendships, mixed with many other cultures, saw some amazing sights, but most importantly for me, I witnessed genuine joy, kindness & love. On my second WYD in 2011, I became unwell and ended up in hospital in Spain. We had a nurse as part of our group who stayed with me and showed me constant care. A local family then unexpectedly welcomed me into their home to stay a few nights with them so that I wasn’t sleeping in a noisy school hall amongst many others. Their kindness allowed me to get some decent rest and to recover. That’s something I’ve never forgotten – even 11 years on. That experience of being so well looked after made me want to live my life in the same way – caring for others, being willing to open my home or arms and help those in need by bringing them comfort. For me, that’s what faith is all about and that’s what attending WYD is about too. Coming together, celebrating and accepting all people, experiencing values in everyday life and witnessing people showing love to each other. Especially in a world that, at times, can be so full of hate.”
Morgan Dysart, WYD 2008 & 2011
“The highlight for me – apart from the opportunity to travel and visit places I have always wanted to visit – was being part of such a huge group of young people who all shared the same faith. We often feel like a minority here in NZ where things are shifting towards a more secular way of life, but seeing the global Church in action for myself was truly awe-inspiring. Also being able to experience how other cultures practice their faith was very special.”
Emma Dodsworth, WYD 2008 & 2011 

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