VINEYARD HAVEN — Martha’s Vineyard was the locale for the first-ever Catholic Youth Day sponsored by the Fall River Diocese on Tuesday, August 7. Over 220 high school-aged youth and their ministry leaders from parishes all over southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod traveled to the Vineyard for the event where they joined with participants from the island’s Good Shepherd Parish.
Modeled after the Catholic Church’s international World Youth Day, this diocesan version offered a full-day program, beginning with participants walking in a 4.2 mile pilgrimage from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven. The pilgrimage served as a collective diocesan response to Pope Francis’ invitation to walk and pray in solidarity with migrants and refugees around the world. Miles walked during the diocesan Youth Day will contribute to the nationwide goal of 24,900 miles set as part of the Pope’s “Share the Journey” campaign.
The island pilgrimage concluded at St. Augustine Church in Vineyard Haven, where Catholic Youth Day events took place both inside and outside.
Elements included musical performances by inspirational singer-songwriter Chris Muglia, an open Question and Answer session with Fall River Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., the announcement of a diocesan-wide service project for youth to begin in the fall; and a concluding Mass celebrated by the Bishop.
In his homily, Bishop da Cunha expressed his “joy and gratitude” for the opportunity to be with so many young people on the island for the Catholic Youth Day celebration. He urged the young people to “grow deeper in their relationship with God and in their faith,” pointing how critical it will be as they encounter the inevitable challenges of life. He also shared, to an an enthusiastic response, his hope that another Catholic Youth Day would take place next year.
In June, Bishop da Cunha extended an invitation to all Catholic youth of high school age in the diocese to this first-ever local Catholic Youth Day.
See more photos from Catholic Youth Day: watch the slideshow here. (Once there, double-click the photos to enlarge them.)