Auxiliary Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald gathered Aug. 10 with 30 young people from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary before departing on a 12-day pilgrimage that concludes at World Youth Day with Pope Benedict XVI in Madrid, Spain from Aug. 16-21.

Bishop Fitzgerald and more than 200 young people from across the Archdiocese will participate in World Youth Day. The bishop and 30 pilgrims will also visit Fatima, Portugal and Lourdes, France, sites where the Blessed Mother Virgin Mary appeared.

I hope participation in WYD will give the youth from my diocese and from the world a deeper knowledge of their faith and the Church, and a greater sense of joy in practicing their Roman Catholic faith.   Auxiliary Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald

World Youth Day is a gathering of the Catholic youth with the Holy Father that takes place every two to three years. This year, 420,508 young Catholics registered for World Youth Day 2011 ‑ a world record.