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'Youth in Europe' expects to attract thousands of American pilgrims to World Youth Day Madrid 2011

2010-05-07

At the moment, World Youth Day organizers expect up to 2,500,000 participants, with at least 50,000 pilgrims coming from the United States.

Youth in Europe, a travel agency that specializes in pilgrimages, wants to help guide American youth on this special journey.

The company has 20 years of pilgrimage experience with the past seven World Youth Days. Youth in Europe says it’s not simply a company with a mission statement, but missionaries with a company.

Mario St. Francis
Co-Director, Youth in Europe

“Our tour guides are young, faithful, living witnesses of the Catholic faith. We call them our pilgrimage guides, more than giving a tour they are there to assist and to reinforce the faith that a diocesan religion director has brought them here for, that their priest or bishop has brought them here for.”

Guides are handpicked through word of mouth or by recommendations. Many come from American Catholic universities, study philosophy or theology and have leadership abilities. They range from age 25 to 40.

Mario St. Francis
Co-Director, Youth in Europe

“This is not just another itinerary, this is our mission. So with that experience with that faithfulness and passion for the faith and travelling and the desire to evangelize we hope to be just be able to always give to groups that feel like they are the right fit that we can be a great catch that World Youth Day can be the best evangelization for the youth and not just a celebration of their faith but an encounter with Christ.”

In addition to World Youth Day, the travel agency has also planned pre-World Youth Day trips to Rome, Assisi, Fatima, Lourdes, and Gibraltar.

With World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, pilgrimage guides are eager to share the experience with other young Catholics.

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