A 20-member delegation from Bangladesh will travel to Poland to join tens of thousands of delegates from around the globe for World Youth Day
celebrations in Poland next week. Young Catholics say they hope for a "spiritual and cultural boost" at the July 25-31 event in Krakow which features a five-day "cultural exchange" while staying with Polish host families. "It will be a great opportunity to learn and share our faith and culture," Gloria Tonny Roy, 20, part of the 20-member delegation, told ucanews.com. "We will meet church leaders and youths from around the world. This will help deepen our faith and broaden our minds," Roy added. "We are reflecting on mercy in our lives as Pope Francis has encouraged us to. We want to reflect on his message," another delegate, Inmanuel Chayan Biswas, 25, from southwestern Khulna Diocese, told ucanews.com. "I have this rare opportunity to attend a global youth festival and I will share my experience with more young people when I return home," Biswas added.
The Bangladesh delegation includes 16 young Catholics from eight dioceses. Each diocese has chosen two participants — one male and one female — as representatives. Bishop Lawrence Subrato Howlader of Barisal, chairman of the Bangladeshi Catholic bishops' Episcopal Commission for Youth, will also join the delegation. The delegates will leave for Poland on July 19. "We have held three preparatory seminars and a retreat program to inform the delegates and to prepare them spiritually and culturally," Holy Cross Brother James Ripon Gomes, the commission secretary told ucanews.com. Bangladeshis will have the chance to present a traditional cultural performance and lead a prayer service, he said. "Participants know this trip is a pilgrimage of faith," said Brother Gomes. "It will enhance their faith through sharing, expression and learning. Upon returning home, they will work in their respective dioceses and share their experience with others." Pope John Paul II initiated the World Youth Day gathering in 1985. Held in a different place every three years, it is a week-long festival to celebrate faith through song, dance, prayer, and the sharing of experiences. The World Youth Day is being held in Krakow, the birthplace of Saint Pope John Paul II.
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