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‘Kraków in the Capital’ a close-to-home World Youth Day experience

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A local one-day event will give young adults unable to attend World Youth Day in Kraków, Poland, the opportunity to celebrate the international Catholic pilgrimage closer to home.

"Kraków in the Capital," held July 30 at Catholic University in Washington, will cultivate "spiritual renewal for young people," said Brendan Gotta, who is helping organize the event as Arlington diocesan young adult coordinator. Along with the Arlington Diocese, co-hosts include the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va., the Washington and Baltimore archdioceses, and the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington.

With the World Youth Day theme, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy," the event is open to 18- to 39-year-olds, married and single. Organizers hope the day draws more than 1,000 young adults from the Washington region and across the Eastern U.S.

Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl will celebrate Mass and join a speaker lineup featuring Jesuit Father James Martin, writer and editor of America magazine; Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden; EWTN radio co-host Gloria Purvis; and Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist Clare Hunter, director of the Arlington diocesan Respect Life Office.

The day's program offers catechesis sessions, time for adoration and confession, and a candlelight Stations of the Cross, as well as a concert by Catholic singer-songwriter Marie Miller and authentic Polish food. The gathering will have a special catechesis track for participants who are deaf or have intellectual disabilities.

Gotta said attendees will have opportunities to visit the national Holy Door at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, adjacent to the Catholic U. campus, and to venerate the relics of St. John Paul II and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati at the nearby St. John Paull II shrine.

Kraków in the Capital coincides with the day Pope Francis leads an evening vigil during World Youth Day celebrations, and Gotta said he hopes participants in the D.C. event will feel spiritual fellowship with and a connection to the pilgrims in Poland. "I hope they can see and experience," he said "the amazing unity our church offers."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016