Countdown to World Youth Day 2016

Akello from the village of Kolido in Karomoja, Uganda - May 2016
Akello from the village of Kolido in Karomoja, Uganda - May 2016


Final preparations are underway in the Diocese of Parramatta as more than 290 pilgrims get set to embark on their journey to Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day (WYD).

from left to right is Michaela Cullen, Ally Trefoni & Noreen Keane
From left to right:" St Matthew's pilgrims Michaela Cullen, Ally Trefoni and Noreen Keane.


For 100 students, 70 young teachers and a number of Group Leaders, Priests and Chaplains in the Diocese, their pilgrimage will begin with a Mission Encounter in the Philippines to support 6 parish projects, in the Diocese of Tagbilaran, Bohol. These pilgrims will each carry donations of goods for the underprivileged and poor with packages including new children’s clothes, health and hygiene kits, stationery packs and sporting equipment to be delivered to the six Parish communities. Pilgrims will also be involved in preparing food and feeding malnourished children, teaching, mentoring, painting, gardening and minor repairs and maintenance.

Girls wearing
Girls wearing 'Sew a Smile' dresses. They are outside the We Yone Child Foundation school in Freetown, Sierra Leone


At Marian Catholic College, Kenthurst, a group of Social Justice students, teachers, parents and parishioners, led by English/Religious Education Teacher and Social Justice Leader Meg Thomas have been busy preparing their donations for the children in the Philippines through their charity ‘Sew a Smile’.

‘Over the past two and a half years we have sent many hundreds of garments around the world, and we are thrilled to be supporting the efforts of the World Youth Day pilgrims,’ Meg said. ‘Using a range of donated fabrics, our goal is to give little girls in particular, something pretty just for them, although we now sew shorts for boys too.’

These clothes will be hand delivered to the children living in some of the most devastated areas in Bohol.

Catholic Education’s WYD 2016 Project Officer Ian Jordan said many schools in the Diocese have also collaborated in their fundraising efforts. St Matthew’s Primary, Windsor and Sacred Heart Primary, Mount Druitt have both been assisted by neighbouring schools who have redistributed their fundraising initiatives to support teachers attending WYD16.

‘This compassion and ‘ready to help attitude’ has been a great support to our young pilgrims,’ Ian said. ‘It is a unique opportunity to experience the universality of the Church with young people all over the world.

From left to right: Scared Heart pilgrims Lynell Alimangohan, Jayme Quintano and Kate Whitton.
From left to right: Scared Heart pilgrims Lynell Alimangohan, Jayme Quintano and Kate Whitton.