Pilgrim's Biographies

Bella Hernandez

St. Apollinaris Parish

I'm Bella Hernandez and going to World Youth Day means the world to me. Now, more than ever, is the time for my generation to really embrace our faith and share it with the world. This opportunity is one that I might not get again, and I plan to take advantage of it. As Pope Francis says, I plan to go out into the world and "Make a mess."

Ben Weslow

St. Apollinarish Parish

I was hoping to attend World Youth Day next year because I see it as a way to grow closer to my faith and to other young Catholics from around the world. I was also hoping to go so I can see our Pope speak and say mass. This is a great opportunity and I hope I will be able to make the most of it!

Fatima Jimenez

St. Helena Parish

Fatima Jimenez has been a parishioner of St. Helena Catholic Church since the age of three. The youngest of six siblings, Fatima’s family has lived in St. Helena for over twenty years. She attended St. Helena public schools and graduated from St. Helena High School in 2008. While in high school, she was a member of the St. Helena Catholic Church Hispanic Youth Group and choir. She also assisted the Music Director with the children’s choir. Growing up in a large extended family (six brothers and sisters, three nieces and five nephews), her passion for working with children was born. She is currently pursuing her Associate of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Development and plans to obtain her Bachelor of Arts Degree and teaching credential. In July 2012 Fatima started working for the St. Helena Catholic Church as the Children’s Religious Education Coordinator. Fatima loves sharing her faith with the wonderful children and their families.

Daniel Eggers

St. Apollinaris Parish

I am so excited to go to World Youth Day in Poland because I think it will be an amazing spiritual experience. Poland is the home country of Saint Pope John Paul II, and so I am confident he will bless us on our journey.

Dominic Figueroa

St. Apollinaris Parish

By the grace of God, I have been blessed to participate in two World Youth Days: Sydney, Australia and Madrid, Spain. Both were challenging and powerful pilgrimages that have impacted me greatly. To this day, I remember the challenging question of Pope Benedict XVI in Sydney, "What legacy will you leave for the next generation?" This question has continued to impact all my major decisions in life. This year, I am blessed once again to journey on pilgrimage to Poland with the youth of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, the youth of the world, and yes: Pope Francis! Furthermore, I am very excited that World Youth Day will take place in Poland, the country of its founder St. John Paul II. It will be wonderful to see what new experiences God will bring our diocesan group on as we travel to Poland this Summer.

Elizabeth (Lily) Figueroa

St. Apollinaris Parish

I am really excited about World Youth Day in Poland because it's taking place in St. John Paul II's home country! Also, I want to grow in my faith through this journey that I know will require sacrifices and commitment. Being with other young people that share the same faith is another reason to get excited!

Grace Haymond

St. Apollinaris Parish

Hello! My name is Grace Haymond and I would like to go to World Youth Day 2016 in Poland because I want to grow in my faith. This is a huge opportunity and I can't even imagine the energy will be like with over 2.5 million young Catholics. I'm excited for what I will learn, what I can share, and what I can bring back to our community here in Napa.

Kyle Huff

St. Apollinaris Parish

It has always been a dream of mine to attend a World Youth Day event for several years. And finally, I have been blessed to be apart of a great group of fellow Catholics to visit Europe and see the Pope in person! I am hoping to attend World Youth Day because it will give me an opportunity to grow in my faith in this pilgrimage. This trip will be an inspiration for me and how to develop a relationship with God like no other!

Olivia Figueroa

St. Apollinaris Parish

I have had the opportunity of attending World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain. It was a beautiful experience to see Pope Benedict XVI and the universal Church. I am really excited to be able to go to Poland and see Pope Francis. This will be a great experience to travel to Krakow and visit John Paul II's homeland.

Rafael Figueroa

St. Apollinaris Parish

Hello. I want to go to World Youth Day to see Papa Francisco and all the youth of my Catholic faith. I also know people who have gone in the past and said it was a wonderful experience. I want to see the beautiful countryside of Poland and Italy. My dream is to see and visit other cultures, their beauty and customs.

 

Katie Uemura

St. Mary Church (Arcata)

Born and raised in Humboldt County CA, Katie grew up a parishioner of St. Mary's Church in Arcata. She attended St. Mary's Catholic Elementary, Arcata High School and College of the Redwoods. Katie is the middle of five girls and has worked at Murphy's Markets, a local family owned grocery store, for over 10 years. Working both as a deli worker and as a meat cutter. Katie is deeply involved in helping her community. She has been involved in the local Rotary, CASA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Special Olympics and B.U.D.S of the Redwoods, part of the National Down Syndrome Society. Katie is overjoyed to get this opportunity to visit the homeland of her childhood hero, St. Pope John Paul II, as well as Rome. "To be amongst millions of pilgrims with the same excitement and passion I have for my faith and religious family's is going to be beyond amazing. I can't being to describe how much of a blessing this will be on my life. It is a once in a lifetime experience and I am so excited to see how God will work in me and my fellow pilgrims during World Youth Day as well as the rest of our lives."

Josiah Ennis

Humboldt State University Newman Center

My name is Josiah Ennis. I am 18 years old and come from a family of 10 children. We have lived in Humboldt county Santa Rosa diocese for 11 years. I am a part of HSU Newman Center. I am really looking forward to this amazing trip, I know it will be a transformational experience. I am very grateful for everyone that has made this possible.

Martin Anderson

Humboldt State University Newman Center

My name is Martin Anderson and I was baptized and raised catholic St. Joseph’s Church in Crescent City, California at the northernmost end of the Diocese of Santa Rosa. I served as an altar boy and later as a lector for my parish. I attended the St. Joseph’s school for Kindergarten through eighth grade and then went to the Del Norte County public high school. After graduating from high school in 2012, I went to Humboldt State University. There I quickly became a part of the John Henry Newman Center that both of my parents were a part of when they each went to HSU. In May, 2016 I graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in Fisheries Biology and a minor in Geospatial Analysis.  I am glad to have earned a degree in a field that interests me but I am happier that I had the opportunity to spend time with the catholic college students of the Newman center and learning about my Catholic Faith from Father Gregory Villaescusa who was the chaplain of the Newman Center until he transferred to my home parish.  Although my family has traveled to many of the western states, the 2016 World Youth Day is my first time outside of the United States.  

 

Maryjean Greitl

Humboldt State University Newman Center

 

John Cortenbach

Humboldt State University Newman Center

 

Matthew Flaherty

Humboldt State University Newman Center

Hello friends! My name is Matthew Flaherty and I am a student at Humboldt State University. Each day is another opportunity to glorify God by living the radical life he leads me on. This summer he is leading me to World Youth Day in Poland. I can not wait to experience the beauty of His universal church with millions of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Please keep us in our prayers!

 

David Vissers

Humboldt State University Newman Center

I am 23 years old and very excited to share in this once in a lifetime experience. To explore our tradition and faith on a deeper level and be caught up in this great gathering of humans who are also excited by the Holy Spirit and filled with love for God. 

 

Jennifer Barranco

Humboldt State University Newman Center

 

Hannah Broswick

Humboldt State University Newman Center

 

Stella McNeil Matteoli

Humboldt State University Newman Center