Diocese of Brooklyn Pilgrims Receive Blessing Ahead of World Youth Day

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Hundreds of young people gathered in prayer this Sunday, to prepare for a pilgrimage to Portugal.

The Bishop of Brooklyn, Robert Brennan, blessed the crowd at a send off mass at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston, Queens.

In a week, he along with 340 pilgrims from across Brooklyn and Queens will go to Lisbon for World Youth Day.

The week-long event with Pope Francis is designed to bring the youth closer to the faith.

Bishop Brennan says he expects this year’s group will not only enrich their faith there, but help spread it to others.

“I have a great hope and confidence in the young people who are going now. They’ll bring their gift back right away and put those into action and hopefully be a witness to other people,” said Bishop Robert Brennan of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Laura DeCastro can’t wait for the trip because she understands the power the pilgrimage has.

“You know, considering us being teens, and we may distance ourselves a little bit from our faith here at home because we’re so comfortable. When we’re there it’s going to be a whole other experience in my opinion. And we’re just going to be more connected to our faith and the lord,” DeCastro said.

Joshua Rivera is still in disbelief that he’s heading to World Youth Day. He distanced himself from the church for a decade after being confirmed. Now he’s prepared to share his faith with hundreds of thousands of young Catholics.

“Came back after around 10 years and now I’m like my foot is on the throttle, I’m ready to go,” said Rivera.

The director of youth and young adult ministry, Father James Kuroly, organized the pilgrimage to Portugal for the Diocese of Brooklyn pilgrims, working with the group Peter’s Way Tours.

He reminded the young people to pack comfortable shoes and an open heart.

“A beautiful sight to see these young people who have opened their hearts to go on pilgrimage, to have this experience,” said Kuroly.

The pilgrims plan to spend the next week getting all their necessary items packed away before they head out on the 30th.