World Youth Day participant to give presentation

Friday, Sep. 15, 2023
World Youth Day participant to give presentation + Enlarge
By Laura Vallejo
Intermountain Catholic

PARK CITY — For several months St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Parish in Park City has been offering several opportunities for faith formation, most of which are open to people beyond the parish. This month’s presentation, by a young man who attended the 2023 World Youth Day, is one of these Parish Summits that is open to the wider community. Those attending will hear about John Shackelford’s pilgrim perspective, thoughts and experiences during the 2023 WYD in Lisbon, Portugal.
World Youth Day, celebrated with an international gathering about every three years, brings youth from all over the world to experience a faith-filled encounter with the universal Church. About 1.5 million pilgrims attended this year’s WYD; the next is planned for 2027 in Seoul, Korea.
Shackelford, 24, is a St. Mary of the Assumption parishioner who plans to join the Franciscan Order next year. His WYD pilgrimage was sponsored by the parish. During his presentation on Sept. 19, “there will be a slide show, they will hear my experience as well as the ones that I collected from Catholics from all over the world,” he said, adding that he also will share the call to action that Pope Francis gave the youth: “Don’t be afraid to change the world.”
Usually, participants at the summit are older parishioners with their children, but Shackelford hopes that his presentation will bring in people of other ages. 
“Our Catholic faith is strong and alive in our youth,” he said. “Attending WYD, especially for Utahn Catholics, was a marvelous experience, especially because they got to live firsthand what it is to share with other Catholics. There were almost 1.5 million people there to raise our faith.”
Now that they are back in Utah, the WYD pilgrims are “loud and proud to share their faith,” he added.
He also hopes his presentation will encourage people to support young people in the Church.
“Invest in the youth. I know it’s kind of a cliche, but the youth are the future of our Church,” he said. “I am very grateful for the opportunity that I had to go on the WYD and hopefully more youth can do that, so if people can support the youth to attend this event or other Catholic events, that would be great.”
Ways to support Catholic youth in Utah include praying for them, “and maybe if you are financially able to and there is an opportunity, consider it; but also talk to them – they may have a vocation and you may be the person that helps them start that vocation to the religious life or to the priesthood,” he said. 
Older generations have lots of experiences, and sharing those with the youth means passing on their wisdom, he said.
There will be no cost to attend the summit. 

WHAT: Presentation on World Youth Day 
WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m. Confessions will be heard from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Saint Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church social hall, 1505 White Pine Canyon Road, Park City
Free and open to the public. To register, visit

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