The pilgrim youth from Abu Dhabi are all set to take active part in the World Youth Day which takes off today at Krakow, Poland.  The young pilgrims departed from Abu Dhabi on 13th of July to partake in the event and also visit a few more countries neighboring Poland.


There are 55 pilgrims from Abu Dhabi, including 2 young priests, Fr Rodson and & Fr Ashok to lead the youngsters spiritually and morally. The group consists of seven nationalities. The Average age of pilgrims is 29 ranging from 16 to 35.  Altogether around 250 pilgrims are participating in WYD 2016 from UAE & Oman.


SJC, under the initiative of the Parish Priest, Fr. Johnson, introduced WYD'16 Krakow to parishioners in Abu Dhabi at a World Youth Day introduction evening at St. Joseph's Cathedral, Abu Dhabi on March 28, 2015. The team also invited grade 8 catechism students during their recollection day on May 9, 2015. Registration opened soon after that.  A very enthusiastic, efficient and experienced team of young Catechists took charge of the long and systematic year long process of preparing the youth, organizing for the entries of permit etc.


Abu Dhabi pilgrims were given a calendar of events in September 2015. It was planned with Fr. Rodson, the second-in-command for the AVOSA pilgrims and committee head of the Abu Dhabi coordinators. It was developed to prepare pilgrims physically, spiritually, emotionally and to develop a feeling of community-building. Events included (in no particular order):


The WYD-AUH team organized a Vicariate-level overnight retreat in Abu Dhabi in November 2015, and Abu Dhabi-and-Al Ain retreat in January 2016 & a half-day Vicariate-level retreat in Jebel Ali in June 2016.


  • Barbecue evenings
  • Christmas caroling in church
  • Walks on the Corniche
  • A Lenten 'shoebox' project
  • Eucharistic Adoration
  • Family evening with pilgrims, family & friends


Besides the calendar, the pilgrims & their families and friends were invited to a day-long Way of the Cross, with stations being conducted at each of the eight parishes in the UAE.


World Youth Day (WYD) is a worldwide encounter with the Pope which is typically celebrated every three years in a different country. The most recent WYD was celebrated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from July 23rd to 28th, 2013 and the next World Youth Day will be held in Krakow, Poland in 2016.


WYD is open to all young people who want to take part in a festive encounter with their contemporaries centered on Jesus Christ. This event is an opportunity to experience in first person the universality of the Church; to share with the whole world the hope of many young people who want to commit themselves to Christ and others. World Youth Day is a unique way to deepen your faith and grow closer to Christ, by means of prayer and the sacraments, together with thousands of other young people who share your interests and ambitions.


During the week of World Youth Day, there will be a complete cultural agenda in addition to the events with the Pope.  You may find the schedule for the main days at


In addition to the Days in the Dioceses & main WYD days, the Abu Dhabi pilgrims have also gone on a side-trip to Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Germany. They also visited the birth place of Pope St. John Paul II and Sister Faustina.


The team is posting on social media to spread awareness about WYD and keep people updated on their activities.


Hashtags #yallaWYD2016, #polskADventures & #dhabi2wyd2016.





[Report by Rupert Vaz and Alvea Fernandes]


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