St. Casimir’s youth and young adults, seen above in Rome, will travel to Kraków, Poland, for World Youth Day 2016. Photo by Katarzyna Nowosielska-Augustyniak

Polish-Canadians at WYD

  • March 21, 2014

Toronto’s St. Casimir’s parish hopes to send 60 to 70 young Polish descendants to their ancestral homeland for World Youth Day from July 26 to 31, 2016, a week that that is set to inspire Catholic youth from around the world in Kraków, Poland.

The parish has two youth groups — high school students age 14 to 18 and young adults age 19 to 35 — with a total of more than 50 members.

With a large part of St. Casimir’s youth of full or partial Polish descent, interest in attending WYD 2016 is high, said associate pastor Fr. Marcin Serwin.

Serwin says the youth and the parish engage in an abundance of fundraising activities: all-day breakfasts, royal balls, bake sales, seeking sponsors, Easter egg sales and picnics, etc.

“In order to organize such plans we are almost always in fundraising mode,” he said.

“In general, my goal is to always offer at least 30 per cent of the full cost to be paid through fundraising,” he said, adding that for their pilgrimage to Rome last September the youth group was able to subsidize 40 per cent of the cost.

“We have a rule that we always leave about $10,000 in our youth fund for less fortunate teens and at least $5,000 for future initiatives. So in general for WYD, we hope to be able to do the same.”

In 2016, before attending WYD in Kraków, St. Casimir’s youth will stay in the Diocese of Wroclaw, Poland, along with other groups they meet at an Oblate youth rally trip to Marseille, France, they have planned for 2015. After Wroclaw, they will proceed to WYD, then Wadowice, the birthplace of Blessed John Paul II, then nearby Auschwitz where the former concentration camp has been turned into a Holocaust museum.

“We will complete, in a way, the themes for the next three World Youth Days from the Beatitudes,” said Serwin, especially the last theme for 2016 WYD week: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

The themes for the previous years before, as announced by Pope Francis, are “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 5:3) for 2014, and “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mt 5:8) in 2015.

WYD 2016 is part of the parish’s bigger picture for its youth program, which over the next few years includes a John Paul II-inspired retreat to Vancouver, aiding the sick in Lourdes, France, a mission trip to Cameroon, working in the southwestern mountains of Mexico and a trip to the Holy Land .

Serwin hopes that other parishes and schools are able to organize as much as possible to attend WYD 2016, which he says “will be a very special one.”

For information on WYD 2016, visit

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.