Seven young people from St. Sebastian Church, Woodside, spent a weekend in March fundraising to go to World Youth Day (WYD) in Krakow, Poland, this summer. They sold religious items during the parish’s eight weekend Masses.
All of the seven young people will experience WYD for the first time. WYD pilgrims Julian Marko Pascual and Joseph Lugue were looking forward to seeing the pope and other people of strong faith.
“Being able to see all of those young Catholics all over the world who are practicing and growing in their faith will be a good experience,” said Lugue, who is also a Mercy volunteer originally from California.
They added that the support of the parish means a lot.
“We might be nervous going but knowing people are here for us is a really big help,” said pilgrim Patrick Dioso. He added he looked forward to WYD in Krakow, where he hoped to meet thousands who share the same faith and learn of God’s will for him.
Marina Cadenillas was one of many buying the religious objects to help the WYD group.
“We wanted to support the young people,” she said. “It is important that they go” to World Youth Day.
Father Rodnev Lapommeray, parochial vicar, is proud of the group’s efforts. He said that going to WYD would lead the youth to have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. “It is my hope that they become on fire for Christ,” he said.
The group plans to continue fundraising. The next fundraiser will take place April 9-10 and will include some rosaries and jewelry that a parishioner donated with the hopes to help the youth in their fundraising efforts. That fundraiser will also include artwork donated by graduate student and Barnard College STEP instructor, Dessa Shepherd.
“I was praying the rosary and thinking about (how to help them) and I thought, ‘Why not create a series of artworks based in the different virtues,’” she said, “and have all the money go to support the young people to go to Krakow.”
In addition to that sale, the parish also looks forward to hosting a series of art workshops to raise more funds to get the St. Sebastian group to World Youth Day.
Melissa Zegueda, a young adult at the parish going to Poland this summer, was touched that so many were helping them in their fundraising efforts.
“It’s pretty fantastic,” she said. “It’s a very generous thing for them to do and we are very grateful for it.”
Father Lapommeray added that donations are most welcome and appreciated and people can send the donations to St. Sebastian Church. For more information about donations and the art workshops, please call Father Lapommeray at the church, 718-429-4442.