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World Youth Day cross and icon to tour Washington

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The Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington will host the official World Youth Day Cross and Marian Icon Aug. 25 as part of the international procession in advance of the World Youth Day event in Panama this coming January.

The shrine is one of five venues in the United States that have been selected for this honor. The other stops include Chicago, Miami, Houston and Los Angeles. It is the first time in 25 years such a coordinated journey has occurred.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, in particular its World Youth Day USA initiative, is coordinating the national tour.

Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, O.S.A., Metropolitan Archbishop of Panama and host of the next international World Youth Day gathering in January 2019, extended the Latin American tour of the WYD symbols to include the United States.

Bridgeport Bishop Frank Caggiano, WYD episcopal liaison for the USCCB, said, “We are grateful for this opportunity to host these incredible and unifying symbols in our country. I hope that young people and young adults will have an encounter with Christ and his mother Mary through the cross and icon, just as many have during World Youth Day. This summer tour is also very timely because August 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the last time the pilgrim cross made a journey across the United States in advance of WYD 1993 in Denver.” 

The cross has traveled around the globe since 1984, when St. John Paul II gave it to young people. It has been part of every WYD celebration beginning with the first official event in Rome in 1986.

In 2002, the cross came to Ground Zero in New York City for a brief visit to bring comfort to the nation’s young people in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In 2003, St. John Paul II presented the world’s youths and young adults with a Marian icon, under the title of Salus Populi Romani, which has accompanied the WYD Cross for the past 15 years.

The USCCB is coordinating efforts with local dioceses, institutions and pastoral leaders in each of the five hosting locations.

Find out more

Go to wydusa.org and social media channels @wydusa.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018