October 20, 2010 // Local

Car raffle is investment in youth, diocese and Church  

J.D. Kimes, a senior at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne and World Youth Day hopeful, poses with the Dodge Caravan that is one choice of two vehicles being raffled off to raise funds for pilgrims traveling to Madrid, Spain for World Youth Day in 2011 who are in financial need.

By Kay Cozad

One-hundred-twenty Catholic pilgrims from around the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend are excitedly anticipating the upcoming pilgrimage to Madrid, Spain, for World Youth Day (WYD) in August of 2011. The diverse group, which includes 16- to 35-year-old teens and young adults,  seminarians, young adult priests, sisters and adult chaperones, including staff from the diocese, will be led on the trip by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.

The trip will begin Aug. 10 with a visit to Lourdes, France, and additional stops in Loyola and Burgos, Spain, before reaching Madrid for the week-long WYD activities. It has been estimated that 2.2 million youth from around the world will gather to share their faith there.

The WYD event will begin with a special Mass concelebrated by bishops from across the globe. Other activities will include a citywide Stations of the Cross devotion highlighted by famous historic statues at each station location across the city, morning catechesis, divided into language-specific groups and daily Mass. Afternoons are free choice with opportunities to attend concerts, the central expo there, question-and-answer sessions, or hear international speakers. Eucharistic Adoration and Reconciliation will be available daily as well.

The World Youth Day event will culminate in a pilgrim walk on Aug. 21, beginning at the Almudena Cathedral in the heart of Madrid. The throngs of Catholic youth will traverse eight miles to Cuantros Vientos Airfield where they will hold a vigil of prayer, Reconciliation, music and sleep under the stars in anticipation of Pope Benedict XVI’s arrival in the morning for a special sendoff Mass.

Registration for the pilgrimage began following an informational meeting held in early spring of this year. The 120 spots were filled by mid summer. And according to Megan Oberhausen, associate director of the Office of Youth Ministry, those participating are expected to raise travel funds by sacrifice, saving and personal fundraising.

“Part of the pilgrimage starts with sacrifice, both in prayer and in finances,” says Oberhausen, who asks the teens to consider giving up simple things like their morning Starbucks coffee to increase their pilgrimage saving. Personal fundraising, including bake and garage sales and special school activities will vary across the diocese. “It’s different for some in low economic areas,” she reports, adding, “It’s so hard.”

In an effort to assist the youth who make a good faith effort to raise the needed $3,400 for the once-in-a-life-time trip, the youth ministry, in collaboration with Bishop Rhoades, Mark Myers, superintendent of Catholic schools, and Fred Tone, former principal of Bishop Dwenger High School, a car raffle was created. With generous support from Glenbrook Dodge Hyundai, the car raffle offers the choice of a new Dodge Caravan or Hyundai Sonata for $50 per ticket. Only 5,000 tickets were printed for sale.

The raffle opens yet another fundraising avenue and all money collected will be placed in a general fund that will be used to assist any teen from across the diocese who requires additional financial support.

The raffle, says Oberhausen, is not just a chance to win a car. “Its an opportunity to not just raise money, but to create and build a culture of World Youth Day in our diocese. We’ve seen the fruit from past WYD events. Some of our young priests have said they felt the call or were affirmed in their vocation at WYD,” she says, adding that many youth who attended past WYD events are now serving in “incredible capacities.”

“The whole diocese will benefit from this pilgrimage,” she says. “The raffle is an investment in a young person, in our diocese and our Church.”

One young person, J.D. Kimes, a senior at Bishop Dwenger High School and parishioner at Queen of Angels Parish in Fort Wayne, is working diligently to raise the necessary funds to travel to Spain. Money saved from mowing and other jobs is mounting, yet Kimes knows he has a long way to go to reach his goal. As for the car raffle he says, “It’s a good deal. Even if you don’t win you’re still supporting the program.”

He and other pilgrims will be selling raffle tickets at Bishop Dwenger football games. “My dream is to get close enough to the pope to get a good picture of him,” says Kimes, who is currently discerning his vocation.

Chelsea Domiano, a freshman at University of Indianapolis and parishioner of Sacred Heart Parish in Warsaw, is jubilant about her second World Youth Day. Having been to Australia in 2008, Domiano understands the significance of this trip.

“It (2008 WYD) opened my eyes to my faith and to how many Catholics there are in the world. And we all believe in the same thing,” she says. She feels as a young adult, with her faith now her responsibility, that WYD will have a positive influence on her spiritual growth.

“God draws people for a reason. It’s the love you feel there. I’m excited to go,” she says, adding that the fundraising and car raffle, though difficult at times, are well worth the effort.

As J.D. Kimes says, “If you want to help, pray for us. That’s most important. And any donation will help too. We need a penny and a prayer!”

Car raffle tickets, available for $50 each, may be purchased at all diocesan parishes, the Cathedral Bookstore, located in the Archbishop Noll Catholic Center, 915 S. Clinton St., Fort Wayne, or by calling the Office of Youth Ministry at (260) 422-4611. Visit diocesefwsb.org/YM for more information.

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