World Youth Day Draws to a Close

Pilgrims from the Diocese of Bridgeport will return home this evening after an eventful World Youth Day gathering with one million others from nearly two hundred countries around the world.

Pope Francis celebrated World Youth Day’s Closing Mass yesterday, July 31, for an estimated 1.6 million pilgrims. He announced that the next World Youth Day will be held in Panama in 2019.

67 young adults from the Diocese of Bridgeport made the nearly nine-mile trek to Saturday night’s prayer vigil, then camped out in preparation for Sunday’s Closing Mass. Bishop Frank Caggiano stayed back at the hostel with the rest of the diocesan pilgrims. He relayed Pope Francis’ words to a captivated room of more than 100.

“Following Jesus demands courage and a readiness to set out on new and uncharted paths,” the pontiff shared at Saturday’s vigil. In Sunday’s homily, he urged young people not to be “couch potatoes,” but to be alert and awake, as the Bible says.

While diocesan young adult pilgrims remained at the vigil site to celebrate Mass with the Holy Father, the rest of the pilgrims stayed in the hostel to watch the Closing Mass with Bishop Caggiano. After the conclusion of the Closing Mass, Bishop Caggiano celebrated a private Mass for the remaining pilgrims.

Pilgrims then returned to the hostel to pack and prepare for their return home.

The pilgrims are scheduled to arrive tonight on two separate flights.

For the most up-to-date information on what the Diocese of Bridgeport’s pilgrims are doing, check out the diocese’s WYD Facebook page at