Bishop Tom Williams celebrated an open air Mass with Liverpool's World Youth Day and Lourdes Youth Pilgrims before they head off to Rio and Lourdes. The Mass was on Sunday, 7 July, in the grounds of Lowe House Church, St Helens; the home of Animate Youth Ministries.
Before the Mass the 40 World Youth Day pilgrims who will begin their journey to Rio on Wednesday 17 July, held their final preparatory meeting. During their pilgrimage they will celebrate the Way of the Cross with Pope Francis on Copacabana beach and together with up to three million other young people from across the world will take part in Mass with Pope Francis on the morning of Sunday 28 July.
Thr first four days of their pilgrimage will be spent in the Archdiocese of Niteroi close to Rio de Janeiro, where they will stay with local families and take part in Church and community activities.
On Thursday 25 July nine coaches will leave the Archdiocese for the French Shrine of Lourdes where over 400 young people will work with the sick during the annual Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes.
The journeys of faith are the culmination of many months of hard work and preparation for the young people who have washed cars and spent a great deal of time and effort in fund raising.
In commissioning them for their journeys Bishop Tom Williams referred to the Gospel of the day which gave the account of Jesus sending out the disciples. He told the young people that they travel in the name of the Archdiocese of Liverpool to bring the good news of the Gospel to those they will meet from thoughout the world. He concluded the Mass by wishing them good luck and safe journeys.
Pictures from Sunday's Mass can be found here and here
Both pilgrimages can be followed through the Archdiocese of Liverpool website www.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk and through the Animate Youth Ministries website at www.animateyouth.org In addition the World Youth Day pilgrims also have a blog at http://liverpoolpilgrim.wordpress.com/