Maine Catholics to attend World Youth Day in Spain next month

Posted July 14, 2011, at 4:52 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Ten central Maine residents will be among 68 people from the state making a pilgrimage Aug. 10-21 to attend World Youth Day in Spain.

Millions of Catholics from throughout the world are expected to make the trek to World Youth Day. Participants will attend Mass with Pope Benedict XVI and visit Fatima, Portugal, a Catholic shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as well as Santiago de Compostela, the “Town of the Apostle,” and the tomb of St. James.

“It’s really spiritually a life-changing experience for these young people,” Jane Young, pastoral life coordinator, said Thursday of the 10 participants from Our Lady of the Snows-St. Agnes Parishes representing the towns of Brownville, Milo, Dover-Foxcroft, Sangerville, Dexter, Pittsfield and towns in between.

The group has raised all but $4,000 of its $30,000 goal. A drawing is being held on a quilt to help bridge the funding gap. In addition, Pittsfield-area children will sell snow cones at the Pittsfield Egg Festival July 19-23 and the Dover-Foxcroft-area children will operate the children’s games at Guilford’s River Festival on July 30.

World Youth Day, started by Pope John Paul II in 1986, is held every two years in different countries. Young said about 28 percent of the priests who were ordained this year attended World Youth Day when they were younger. Seventy-eight percent of those who have gone into the religious life worldwide also attended the spiritual event, she noted.

Marianna Bury, 26, of Monson is looking forward to the journey.

“I already know that I’m going to be changed physically and spiritually so much by this trip,” she said Thursday. “You just have to be open for that kind of change, and it will happen.”

Bury, who has an associate degree in culinary arts, said the trip probably will not help her become a famous chef, but it will help her become someone who cares and is more interested in doing God’s work than furthering her own career.

To have Mass with the pope and to see and pray at the Shrine of St. James and at Fatima, where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared, is truly amazing, said Bury, whose brother Ned, 19, also will attend. “Most people only dream about being able to do something like that,” she said.

Young, who is not going on the trip, said she is grateful for everyone who has helped raise funds for the trip. Anyone wishing to contribute may send donations to Our Lady of the Snows, P.O. Box 193, Dexter, ME 04930 in care of Young.

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