Federal government’s CDC offers advice for WYD travelers

The Centers for Disease Control is among the organizations that have recognized that thousands of Americans will be traveling to Spain this month for World Youth Day.

This posting on the CDC website offers advice specifically for group leaders, while this one has more general information for travelers.

Group leaders are offered advice about what medical-related preparations should be considered such as vaccinations, knowing the local equivalent for 911 for emergency calls (it’s 112 in Spain and throughout much of Europe) and what to bring along in an emergency kit.

Individuals get more generic advice about making sure you’ve had a measles vaccine, taking normal precautions to avoid food-borne and respiratory illnesses and how to deal with extreme heat.

The somewhat surprising thing is that this health advice comes with a bit of cheerleading for World Youth Day itself:

“World Youth Day (WYD) is an awesome opportunity for  cultural, social, and spiritual growth for Catholic youth from around the world, but don’t get so caught up in the excitement that you neglect your health and safety. Take a few simple steps to protect yourself and make sure you get the most out of the experience.”

WYD: Patiently waiting for what God has in store

By Emily Anderson
One in a series

BARCELONA, Spain — After flying across the world to Australia for World Youth Day 2008, a little six-and-a-half-hour flight followed up by another two-hour plane ride is nothing. Still after traveling for almost 18 hours patience wears so thin!

World Youth Day is all about patience, with yourself and one another. I can totally hear the super-patient teen ask me what’s next and all I can say is “waiting.” See, World Youth Day truly is about waiting: waiting for a whole group to be together; waiting for the next thing we are doing; waiting for our Lord at the overnight vigil.

I once heard a man talk about how he waits for no one. But as Catholics, we are called to wait for him who we seek. We are people that wait and my prayer as always is to be someone that waits well. I want to wait well for what the Lord has in store! Hopefully, in small ways these next two weeks, each of us can truly wait well.

Emily “Em” Anderson, 28, is the director of youth ministry at St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church, Va. She is excited to be traveling with seven teens and two other adults from her ministry. This is her second World Youth Day, having trekked across the world to Sydney with 10 teens for World Youth Day in 2008. She enjoys laughing, singing at the top of her lungs — rather badly — praying liturgy of the hours and planning her next party.