One Year Later, Pilgrims Reflect on World Youth Day Experience

Tags: Currents, Brooklyn, NY, Crux, Diocese of Brooklyn, Pope Francis, World Youth Day, Young Catholics, Youth

By Tim Harfmann

Pilgrims from the Brooklyn Diocese can’t believe it’s been one year since they landed in Panama for World Youth Day with Pope Francis.

Sarah Carr and Christian McCormack, pilgrims from St. Patrick’s Church in Bay Ridge, reflected on their experience at the international gathering full of prayer and fellowship.

“I was really shocked at how much of a joy and amazement that I got from it,” said McCormack.

“I find that I’m a much stronger person,” Carr added.

They, along with nearly 200 Catholics from Brooklyn and Queens, joined hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to unite as a Church.

“You’re all connected for the same idea. You’re all having the conversation, ‘Who is Jesus? who is He to you?” Carr explained.

The pilgrims returned to Brooklyn and shared those conversations with friends who have turned away from the Church.

“I was amazed myself that people my age, they were starting to ask questions. And that’s the important part,” McCormack said.

The group from St. Patrick’s felt so inspired in Panama, they had already made up their minds before they arrived home: they wanted to attend the next World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal.

“While we were going to the opening event with the pope,” explained Romeo Petric, World Youth Day coordinator at the Bay Ridge parish, “we called into the group that was hosting a wrestling fundraiser here at St. Pat’s for Lisbon already.”

The next World Youth Day is scheduled for 2022. About 30 St. Patrick’s parishioners, including Carr and McCormack, have already showed interest in going.