New Year, new start will take on a different meaning for 20 young adults as they travel to Panama in January for World Youth Day.

All those embarking on this trip of a lifetime are now fundraising, and securing sponsorship, in order to head to Panama for the 10-day pilgrimage, which starts on January 19.

They will be representing the Archdiocese of Birmingham on the trip, during which they will meet Pope Francis and young people of the world.

The group, organised by the Kenelm Youth Trust, will be joined by Bishop William Kenney at the event, along with Fr Michael Dolman, Vocations Director.

The Archdiocese of Birmingham is one of the few Diocese in the UK responding to the call of Pope Francis to join him and the youth of the world in Panama this January.

Once there the group will take part in a welcome ceremony, an overnight vigil, a Papal Mass, catechesis and workshops.

The young adults are now in the process of securing the £1,750 each that’s needed to cover the cost of the trip, and are actively fundraising in their parishes.

The Catenians (Association of Catholic laymen) have already pledged their support, and further support is most welcome.

If you can sponsor a young adult, or make a donation, please contact [email protected]

Fr. Michael Dolman, part of the core team heading out to Panama, said:

"It is with great anticipation that the group of 20 Birmingham World Youth Day Pilgrims are preparing to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation to gather in Panama.

"We are looking forward to being with the Pope and so many other young people from across the world, to deepening our faith and sharing it with those we meet and to experiencing the culture of this beautiful country.

"We all feel privileged to be making this pilgrimage and of course we will be praying for the intentions of our diocese as we go!"

Maria Bracken, youth ministry coordinator, is organising the trip.

“This is an incredible opportunity for young people, especially those from our most disadvantaged parishes in the Diocese, to meet Pope Francis and encounter the joy and beauty of our church on such an international scale,” she said.

“The group recently got together for the first time for a pilgrimage preparation weekend.

“Please support them with your prayers, and if you are able a small donation to help them to fundraise.”

January’s gathering in Panama will be the 33rd World Youth Day since its conception by Saint John Paul the Great in 1986.

Right from the beginning of his pontificate, Saint John Paul said to young people, 'You are my hope'.

More information on this exciting pilgrimage can be found at here

VIDEO: Pilgrims Maisie Berry and Georges Wisoba discuss their forthcoming trip

Article in Advent edition of The Sower magazine: