Sylvia Klein looks forward to going on ‘an adventure for God’

Kelly Seegers for the Catholic Standard

For Sylvia Klein, a rising junior about to transfer to St. Mary’s College of Maryland, going to World Youth Day is a dream that she originally never thought she would be able to achieve. She was sitting at Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Waldorf, when someone from nearby St. Peter’s Parish came to speak and invite youth to join them in traveling to Kraków, Poland.

Upon hearing the invitation, Klein knew she wasn’t going to be able to afford to go.  But several weeks later, someone from her parish asked, “If you could go, would you?” and soon told her that if she could pay a quarter of the cost of the trip, the parish would pay the remainder. As a result, Klein and two other young people from Our Lady Help of Christians will now be able to attend World Youth Day.

“I think we started jumping up and down,” Klein said, when she and other youth found out that they were going to be able to travel to Poland.

As a result of the discovered need to help youth take these types of trips, Our Lady Help of Christians has now begun a “Youth Pilgrimage Fund,” which will be used for both domestic and international pilgrimages. Klein and the other youth who are going to World Youth Day have been helping out at fundraising events, in order to pay the parish back for their pilgrimage and raise money for future young people who wish to have a similar experience.

To raise funds, they have held drives where they label envelopes 1-250, and people choose one to fill with that amount of money. Klein has seen people take low numbers, like three, and fill it with a 20 dollar bill, as well as children who pick up envelopes and fill them with their own money. They have also held a Fat Tuesday pancake dinner and gift-wrapping stands during the Christmas season. These fundraisers have brought in thousands of dollars, and have also provided an opportunity for youth who have gone on pilgrimages to give witness talks at Mass, which are inspiring for the whole congregation.

While Klein has been on pilgrimages within the United States, she looks forward to taking it to “the next level” with World Youth Day, which she describes as going on “an adventure for God.”