Youths from the Church of St Francis of Assisi.

Some of the 200 Singapore youths now at WYD share their excitement at attending the Church celebration prior to their departure

Singapore pilgrims to the World Youth Day (WYD) in Madrid say they are excited about experiencing a faith renewal at the massive international event.

About 200 young people from various contingents in the archdiocese are right now at the Aug 16-21 celebration. CatholicNews caught up with some of them at Changi Airport just before their departure.

Ms Mariana Wijayanti, a youth worker with the archdiocesan Youth Ministry Office said she hopes participants would not only enjoy the convivial and welcoming atmosphere but also experience the universality of the Church at WYD.

Delegation from the archdiocesan Youth Ministry Office.

Speaking to CatholicNews, she said she hopes the pilgrims would develop a “deeper love for the Church and for Christ”.

Mr Leonard Chia’s original intention of joining WYD was to visit Spain. But the 26-year-old soon realised that this trip is “a spiritual journey and not a holiday”.

He told CatholicNews he hopes to know more about God through the event and to deepen his trust in Him. He too said he looked forward to experiencing the universality of the Church.

The Youth Ministry Office, with a group of 33 youths from parishes across Singapore, embarked on their two-week journey on Aug 9.

As part of their preparation prior to the actual celebration, the group visited historical sites, museums and basilicas in Rome. Prayer and reflections were led by the youth chaplain and the group’s spiritual director Fr Brian D’Souza.

Eighteen youths from the parish of Christ the King started their pilgrimage in Barcelona. The group, calling itself W4 Pilgrims (Word of God, Worship, Works of Mercy and World Youth Day), participated in the Days in the Diocese programme in Seville before heading to Madrid.

Participants from the Church of Christ the King.

Members said they were “excited and eager to meet whatever is in store” for them and intend to go with an open mind.

Two of them, Ms Joanna Lee and Mr Edward Gunalan, both 25, said they hope the experience would help them gain a deeper understanding of their Catholic identity and faith.

Another contingent of 22 youths, led by Sr Leticia of the Verbum Dei Missionaries, joined other Verdum Dei youths from various countries as part of their preparation. The group’s pilgrimage will end with a visit to Barcelona and Montserrat after WYD.

Nineteen youths from the Church of St Francis of Assisi, who had each forked out about $2,600 for the trip, will also head to Rome after WYD.

Mr Fritz Ng, 25, perhaps sums up the feelings of the excited youths, saying that he knows that there are “great things ahead”.

“I’m planning to let God surprise me!” he said with a smile.

By Darren Boon
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