World Youth Day 2005

Blog entries after the trip

These entries were posted after our return and are listed from newest to oldest.

Unless otherwise noted, all photos on these pages are by Brandon A. Evans, © The Criterion


Photo disc now available!

Any parish or individual wishing to obtain a CD with all the best Criterion photographs from the archdiocesan pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2005 can do so by sending $5 to World Youth Day Photos, The Criterion, P.O. Box 1400, Indianapolis, IN 46206. Be sure to include what address you would like the disc sent to and to whose attention it should be labeled.

The disc includes about 350 photographs and both videos that are featured on this site.

Important note: I would recommend that youth and families who wish to have a disc ask their parish to purchase one disc and then copy it for anyone in the parish who wants it. That not only saves The Criterion staff time, but also makes the disc effectively free to most pilgrims.

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 4:50 p.m. on September 7, 2005 in Indianapolis

Photo disc

I'm still trying to find time at work to compile a compact disc of the best photos that I took during World Youth Day. Once it's complete, I will post information on this page as to how parishes and schools, or possibly individuals, can obtain one of the discs.

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 12:43 p.m. on September 3, 2005 in Avon, Indiana

Your comments and pictures

The links below will take you to pages containing comments and pictures from our archdiocesan pilgrims to World Youth Day.



Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 1:14 p.m. on August 31, 2005 in Indianapolis

Video from the pilgrimage, part two

Click on the image to the left for the full version of the newest (and final) World Youth Day video. The file is about 12 MB, so a high speed connection is pretty much required to view it.

I have, however, posted a condensed version of the video that is only a little over 1 MB in size for those with dial-up access. Click here to download that movie.

This video deal with our time spent in Cologne, from Mass and prayer to dancing in the streets. It was all shot by my wife, Laura, and put together (roughly) by me.

In case you're wondering what all the youth are doing in the "dancing" section, here is the answer: they're singing to people at various outdoor cafe's in Cologne. The song was a tweaked version of "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands." There are various lyrics with different actions, and the clip shows the grand finale, in which the youth are saying "If you're American and you know it, do all four," followed by four distinct actions.

Now you know. Enjoy!

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 12:59 p.m. on August 30, 2005 in Indianapolis

Addresses of the Holy Father

The link below contains the 12 major addresses that Pope Benedict XVI delivered during the course of his visit to Germany for World Youth Day. They're probably of special interest to our pilgrims who, while present for many of these events, haven't seen the full text (and translation) of the words of the Holy Father.

The World Youth Day addresses of the Holy Father

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 1:28 p.m. on August 29, 2005 in Indianapolis

Second set of print edition stories

Here are two of the four stories that were published in today's print edition of The Criterion. There are two stories that I will allow to remain exclusive to the print edition for now. One deals with the catechetical sessions that our pilgrims attended, the other deals with the 28 archdiocesan seminarians that joined our pilgrimage.

Archdiocese’s pilgrims sacrifice and rejoice

Archbishop Buechlein discusses importance of WYD

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 3:54 p.m. on August 26, 2005 in Avon, Indiana

Reflection by Daniel Conway

The link below contains a reflection written by Daniel Conway, a member of the editorial committee of the board of directors of Criterion Press Inc. He attended World Youth Day with his wife, his son and two his son's cousins.

World Youth Day 2005:
Discovering who we are and what we believe

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 4:13 p.m. on August 25, 2005 in Avon, Indiana

First set of print edition stories

Last Friday, Aug. 19, the print edition of The Criterion ran with two news stories that I sent back to them via e-mail. They were, for the most part, written on the train that our pilgrims took overnight to Frankfort, Germany, from Milan. Click on the links below to read those stories:

Archdiocese’s World Youth Day pilgrims visit Italy

Scavi tour reveals the secrets of the Vatican’s
underground necropolis

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 2:46 p.m. on August 25, 2005 in Avon, Indiana

All the pictures

I've compiled a special page that contains the thumbnail images of all the photos that I posted over the course of our pilgrimage. Just to let you know, the page may take a couple of minutes to pull up if you have a dial-up connection.

Click here to go to the page.

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 6:30 p.m. on August 24, 2005 in Avon, Indiana

Criterion print edition coverage

By the end of this week I will post some or all of the news coverage that I wrote for the print edition of The Criterion. The issue that is being delivered to houses the end of this week has four news stories that I wrote plus a nationally written story -- and includes a special Q. + A. with Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein. I gave him a hastily written set of questions as he was leaving our pilgrimage on Aug. 15, and he e-mailed back some very nice answers about our group.

Keep watching this site for the stories.

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 4:24 p.m. on August 24, 2005 in Avon, Indiana

Wacky advertising

One of the highlights of my trip to World Youth Day 2000 in Rome was to look at all the wacky foreign advertising -- kind of like checking out all the funny local commercials that pop up in small American towns. My favorite was one set of ads, I believe for furniture, that featured a totally naked man (though conveniently covered up in the right place) with the large word "Scandaloso!" over his head. I have no idea who came up with that one, but the ads were still in use when I returned to Rome in 2002 for my honeymoon.

This time, the ad to the left takes the cake for the weirdest one I saw (it was in Italy). My guess is that it's for a new area code, but it beats me. If anyone out there has a better idea, let me know.

I've also got to say that though the American advertising for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" kind of freaked me out, the movie poster for "Charlie and das Chokolaten Fabrik" (forgive any mispelling) added and freak out factor to it.

Other than that, the advertising was pretty close to the kind that we have here in the States, except for the occasional topless woman in an ad -- I guess they have different laws about what kind of material is indecent. Not like we're much better.

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 4:17 p.m. on August 24, 2005 in Avon, Indiana

Video from the pilgrimage, part one

Here is one of the two long-promised videos from our pilgrimage to World Youth Day.

It features the portion of our travels in Italy. Most of the clips were done quickly (big thanks to my wife, Laura, for taking them with her camera) and the editing was done even more quickly.

It's not very professional, but it's a glimpse of what we did with our time! By the way, the "nightlife" section of the video features Marcel, a street performer who hangs out at Piazza Navona in Rome. He's been there for years. Sorry that it's a bit dark! He's even got a website.

Click on the photo for a larger resolution video (12 MB), or click here for a lower resolution video (1.25 MB).

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 3:36 p.m. on August 23, 2005 in Indianapolis

A great picture

To the left is a picture so funny to me that I've got to share it. During the course of our pilgrimage, I had the chance to hang around with a wonderful group of people from World Youth Day, in particular some of the children of the Welch family.

Nick Welch has a particular energy to him. While waiting to see the pope drive by in Cologne on Aug. 18, many people from different countries had taken to jumped over the gates lining the empty road and running with their country's flag. This evoked cheers from everyone, even those not from the country in question.

Nick decided to do the same, but after a couple of laps up and down the street, the German polizei caught up with him and decided to have a talk. Needless to say, Nick didn't get to run with our American flag down the street any more (though some other countries still got away with it.

I think the most priceless aspect of this picture is Chris Schoettle, seen in the background, who was Nick's chaperone and looking on at what is happening.

I'm sure there are quite a few people that are very amused that this picture has been posted. And Nick, if your parents don't find this funny, forgive me!

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 3:36 p.m. on August 23, 2005 in Indianapolis

Darkness and light at World Youth Day

Below are some of my own personal thoughts about what I found at World Youth Day.

Leaning against the window of a city tram in Neuss during our week in Germany, I saw someone carrying a rainbow flag with the word "Peace" written on it. Many youth carried around such flags.

What struck me was this thought: if this many people--the million who have come here--really were committed to peace, then surely they would be a great force in the world.

Yet in the generation to come, there will still be war. Even among the ranks of those who came in earnestness to World Youth Day, even among those who bear the cause of peace, even through these Christians will come darkness, pain and evil into the world. Some of those who worship God in this moment will turn against him in the future.

It's the battle we all wage--the one that we all lose sometimes and that we all win sometimes. It is a terrible sorrow to know that some of the greatest evils the world will come to know may be committed by those who attended World Youth Day -- that some of them will later choose to follow the currents of culture than continue to cling to the rock of Christ.

This is not a point lost on our culture, which often sees the things that we fight as the things that we ought to embrace. It was no mere coincidence that the pro-abortion group Catholics for a Free-Choice -- a profoundly anti-Catholic organization -- inundated the Cologne subway and rail stations with ads advocating promiscuity and condom use.

Among those in the media or otherwise who have no faith in our Church, World Youth Day is an opportunity to point out to us the "real story." People continue to insist that the massive gatherings are more celebrity worship than anything; that the Catholics who attend may love Christ but they ignore the teachings of his Church just as much as anyone. One common phrase is that this is the "Catholic Woodstock."

Of course, they are partly right. I've been to two World Youth Days, and I can testify to the frustration of seeing so many young people that are there for the party--young people that have no intention of striving any closer to sainthood. It is a tragedy that an event meant to draw people closer in conformity to Jesus Christ is just a vacation for some and just a party for others.

At times, one can even question what good the gathering does; fall into despair that the world will continue to barrel into the hands of the devil; that children will still starve, that secularism will exalt over the minds of men, that the souls of many will be lost.

Yet in the darkness, right in it's midst, is the means of it's own destruction. In stirring up the waters, the devil only awakens in others the desire to bring the light of Christ into the world. Those who would otherwise sleep are stirred to passion by seeing the power of darkness in the world. A simple sign in Cologne was the fact that all the expensive ads placed by Catholics for a Free Choice were torn to pieces by pilgrims trying to remove them.

And there you get to the "real story" of World Youth Day. It is something hidden in plain sight. Walking in the midst of those at World Youth Day are the saints of the 21st century. The great names that will be on the lips of our great-children and whose stories will be told and who will be lifted up at altars all around the world are alive and young today.

It is the strength of Christ working through these people, the same ones gathered at World Youth Day in Cologne, that will make far more of an impact on the world than the strength of those who choose not to follow Christ. But it is not just the greatest saints who are there, but also the "normal" saints who may never been canonized but are nevertheless striving for God alone.

The secular world sees so many people gathered for Christ and asks what the real reason could be. It does not strike many people that they could actually be gathered for Christ. People try to root out what true motivations they have, and there is no lack of bad examples.

Yet what impressed me so much about our archdiocesan pilgrimage was how many youth were so genuinely interested in gathering with the Universal Church in the name of Jesus. I was impressed to youth from so many cultures who were respectful during the prayer vigil in Marienfeld, and who spent much time on their knees.

A great many--we all pray the great majority--of those at World Youth Day are there because they are serious about their faith. They are there because they are preparing to be a leaven among their peers, to be light for the world and salt for the earth.

World Youth Day, in the end, will always be plagued with those who, in the secrecy of their hearts or the obviousness of their actions, aren't there for the right reasons. And it will always be host to the human tragedy of sin in those who go in earnest to bloom for Christ but end up taking a different road. We can only hope that the grace of God through the experience of World Youth Day eventually has its full effect. The great joy though, is that so many go to make a statement to the world that the newest saints are here, that they are ready to sacrifice their lives for Christ, that they are willing to be radically cast into the image of Jesus--and that they know their flaws and want to change them.

Right in the heart of a continent abandoning Christ, this World Youth Day stands as an unmistakable sign of the persistence of the Truth. It is a powerful reminder to the world that Jesus Christ is not going away, is still a force in this world. With the pope, we all pray Christ can be the central reference point of our world.

There is darkness at World Youth Day, but as in the drama of humanity, there is also light, and as we know by faith, the light has already triumphed.

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 2:25 p.m. on August 23, 2005 in Indianapolis

Special request to all archdiocesan pilgrims

I know that many of you that were on the pilgrim will be checking this site in the days to come. That said, this is my best way to reach you.

First of all, I want to thank you -- especially those of you that I got to know at least a little bit -- for your warmth and friendship. Though exhausting, I hope you all enjoyed the trip.

Now that our pilgrimage is over, it doesn't have to quite be the end of this weblog. I would like to ask any of our pilgrims to send the following things to me via e-mail (


1) Any comments, stories or reflections about your pilgrimage that you wish to share on this website.

2) Your single best photograph (if you can digitally send it). This could be a single person, a group shot, artwork, a building -- whatever you think is "the picture" of your trip.

3) Any good Pope Benedict photos that you have (though please try not to send more than a couple).

As I receive the e-mails, I will make additional webpages and we will get those posted. Hopefully these things can serve as a communal sharing place for not only all of you, our pilgrims, but also those who you know and love.

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 7:15 p.m. on August 22, 2005 in Avon, Indiana

Before the trip: Pre-Blog

Italy: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

Germany: Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13

(Archive Page 1 | Archive Page 2 | Archive Page 3)

After the trip: Post-Blog


Local site Links: