Many hands make light work of World Youth Day pilgrim packs

By Mary Brazell, 23 November 2018
Sr Rosie Drum MGL and volunteers pack merchandise packs for pilgrims heading to World Youth Day in Panama. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.


Members of Catholic Youth Parramatta, as well as Diocese of Parramatta Catholic Education staff, deanery ambassadors and group leaders gathered together at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta today to put together pilgrim packs for the young people, students and teachers attending World Youth Day in Panama in January 2019.

More than 170 people from the Diocese of Parramatta have registered for the 17-day pilgrimage to Central America and the United States, and the merchandise packs will have the pilgrims prepared for any situation.

“We’ve got a big rain jacket”, James Camden, Director of Catholic Youth Parramatta, says. “It’s going to be very useful in Mexico, potentially, as it might be a bit rainy, and in Houston, it’s going to be freezing cold where we’re having our retreat”.

Also provided in the packs will be four shirts – two polos, a regular t-shirt, and an Australian themed shirt, which is given to all Australian pilgrims heading to Panama.

A special request from pilgrims who went to World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow was to have a hat, so those travelling in 2019 will receive a snapback cap, featuring a design from Diocese of Parramatta graphic designer Cassandra Sabin.

Merchandise available to pilgrims travelling to World Youth Day in Panama. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

The pilgrim packs will be handed out following the Commissioning Mass, celebrated with Bishop of Parramatta Vincent Long OFM Conv, on December 9.

“It’s a unique Commissioning Mass, because it’s five weeks before we actually depart”, James says. But he and the CYP team are looking forward to celebrating such an important Mass during the season of Advent.

“Because it falls in Advent, it’s preparing – we’re preparing the way for the Lord for Christmas, and we’re preparing to journey to the other side of the world.

“The Mass is one of our favourite moments, it really is the finalisation of our formation program, and Bishop Vincent saying ‘here we go! Join me on pilgrimage’.”

The Commissioning Mass for the Diocese of Parramatta pilgrims will happen on Sunday, December 9 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, at 6pm.

For more information about the pilgrimage, visit


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