Assumption Represented at World Youth Day in Madrid

A 16-member group of Assumption College community members is among the approximately half a million pilgrims at World Youth Day (WYD) in Madrid, Spain, from August 16 to 21. WYD is the largest gathering of Catholic and other youth from around the world, and the Assumption contingent is expected to be the only Worcester Diocese-based group at the event.

“It is a profound experience for the Assumption College group to interact with so many Catholics from around the globe and to be close to Pope Benedict XVI,” said Assumption College President Francesco Cesareo, who is an internationally recognized authority on the history of the Catholic Church. “Experiences in and out of the classroom—such as at World Youth Day—help shape an Assumption student’s ‘personal compass’ and encourage intellectual, spiritual and personal growth. The students attending World Youth Day are witnesses to an undeniably powerful faith experience, which will deepen their commitment to the Catholic Church.”

Joining President Cesareo on the trip are students Lauren Murphy '12 of Taunton and Julianne Elouadih '13 of North Kingston, R.I.; alumni Christopher Kelley '11 of Worcester, who is the trip’s coordinator, Alicyn Gilberto' 11 of Weston, and Amy Logue '01 (MBA '08) of Worcester; Director of Campus Ministry James Rizza of Worcester, Campus Minster Fr. Dinh Vo Tran of Worcester; Daniel Hicks of Worcester; Br. Ronald Sibugan of Brighton; Assumption missionaries Afton Caterina and Elizabeth Yancey; and the president’s wife Filomena Cesareo and their three children.
Founded in 1904 by the Augustinians of the Assumption, the college’s vibrant Catholic intellectual tradition immerses students of all faiths in the works of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, and artists to explore the connections between faith and reason.

“Assumption College has given me not only an education steeped in the Catholic intellectual tradition, but it has given me the skills to respond to the modern world in a reasonable way," said Kelley, who graduated in May. “This becomes even more relevant at World Youth Day, where we get a sense of the modern universal church of today, alive and well, filled with enthusiasm and hope for the future. What is also extraordinary about World Youth Day is that we have the opportunity to meet with strangers and friends from around the world and to unite in prayer and service.”

While 1 million people are expected to attend WYD, more than 400,000 young pilgrims have registered to participate in WYD activities; among them will be approximately 30,000 from the United States—a record number for U.S. participation in a WYD outside North America. Sixty-four million people in the United States are Catholic; worldwide, the Catholic population is 1 billion, according to the latest available Census numbers. WYD will include 967 groups from the United States, representing diverse cohorts including Hispanic, Korean, Vietnamese, and Polish youths.

Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College @AssumptionNews