U.S. Military Catholics to Attend World Youth Day 2016 in Kraków, Poland Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio to lead delegation of 20 pilgrims from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces

WASHINGTON, D.C. – His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, will lead a delegation of 20 U.S. Military members and staff from the same Archdiocese (AMS), to the World Youth Day (WYD) 2016 celebration July 26-31 in Kraków, Poland. The AMS delegation will comprise young Catholics currently on active duty and stationed throughout the continental U.S. and Europe in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Józef Guzdek, Bishop of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland, will host the AMS delegation for the days in the diocese. The AMS pilgrims will gather in Warsaw this weekend where they will lodge through Tuesday, July 26, at Poland’s Military Institute of Technology before heading to Kraków on Wednesday, July 27.


WYD 2016 is expected to draw two-million people from 187 countries, including 40,000 from the U.S. They will be accompanied by 47 cardinals, 800 bishops and archbishops, and 20,000 priests. The theme of the international celebration–the 14th held in different cities around the world since Pope Saint John Paul II inaugurated the event in Rome in 1985–is, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”


The AMS pilgrimage gets underway on Sunday, July 24, with evening Mass at the Field Cathedral of the Polish Army in Warsaw, where the pilgrims will pray for peace. Bishop Guzdek will be the principal celebrant and Archbishop Broglio will concelebrate with the other bishops and priests present. On Monday, July 25, the AMS pilgrims travel to the southern city of Częstochowa where Archbishop Broglio will celebrate Mass at the famous Jasna Gora Sanctuary of the Black Madonna, Poland’s holiest site, which houses an iconicpainting of the Blessed Mother with Christ child that, according to legend, was painted by St. Luke himself on a tabletop in the home of the Holy Family. During the Mass, the pilgrims will seek the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Peace.

On Tuesday, July 26, the AMS pilgrims visit a museum at the Military University of Technology in Warsaw, and on Wednesday, July 27, en route to Kraków, they pay respect to victims of the Holocaust with a stop at Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, wherePope Francis himself will visit on Friday, as well as, stopping in Wadowice where St. John Paul II was born.


In Kraków, on Thursday, July 28, Second Lieutenant Christopher Hoffman, a recent graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, will carry the U.S. flag in the 5:30 p.m. (CEST) Papal Welcome ceremony in Błonia Park. On Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. (CEST), Archbishop Broglio will celebrate a Mass at the Pope Saint John Paul II Sanctuary for all WYD 2016 pilgrims with any connection to the U.S. Military.


From Thursday through Saturday, July 28-30, the AMS pilgrims will lodge in pre-arranged housing at a local military site, spending mornings in catechesis and afternoons in Festival of Faith activities, including cultural exchange, prayer, and visits to holy sites. Dr.Mark Moitoza, D. Min., AMS Vice-Chancellor for Evangelization, who will be making the WYD 2016 pilgrimage, noted, “The Polish Military Ordinariate has organized a wonderful opportunity for military pilgrims attending World Youth Day to gather together and pray for peace. The inter-cultural exchange affords opportunities for service members from eleven NATO countries to share how their devotion to the Catholic faith informs their mission to serve and protect. Together they will travel to several of the most important pilgrimage sites in Poland. These pilgrims will join the international celebrations in Kraków to participate in moments of catechesis, prayer, and music.”


On Saturday, July 30, at 9:00 a.m. (CEST), WYD 2016 pilgrims will gather for Mass at the Tauron Arena before taking a pilgrimage walk to the Campus Misericordiae (the “Field of Mercy”) for the evening vigil with Pope Francis. The following morning, they will participate in the concluding, open-air Mass with the Holy Father.


There are many ways for those not going to Poland to participate in WYD 2016. The WYD 2016 app may be downloaded to pray along with the pilgrims attending. Live streaming of major WYD 2016 events will be provided by many online sources, including the AMSUSA app through the generosity of Salt and Light TV. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has also posted a list of local, WYD 2016 celebrations that promise to be vibrant, spiritual gatherings. In a digitally connected world, almost anyone anywhere can join those on-site in real-time prayer and celebration, making WYD 2016 an event with true global impact, as catholic as it is Catholic.