Groups from the United States comprise the third largest national delegation of pilgrims going to the 28th World Youth Day, this year slated for July 23-28 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The current number of US registrants is currently more than 7,000, said Paul Jarzembowski, program coordinator for youth and youth ministry at the US episcopal conference.
Only Brazil, the host country, and the Pope’s native Argentina have larger registration numbers.
About 40 US bishops also are expected to participate in the event.
The list of bishops who plan to attend includes Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York; Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston; Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington; Cardinal William Levada, retired prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver; Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia; Archbishop Gustavo García-Sillar of San Antonio; and Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee.
Pope John Paul II initiated World Youth Day in 1986. It is celebrated in the Diocese of Rome every Palm Sunday. Internationally it is celebrated every two or three years.
The most recent World Youth Day was celebrated in Madrid in August 2011.
The other international World Youth Days have been held in Buenos Aires (1987); Santiago de Compostela, Spain (1989); Czestochowa, Poland (1991); Denver, Colorado, (1993); Manila, Philippines (1995); Paris (1997); Rome (2000); Toronto (2002); Cologne, Germany (2005); and Sydney (2008).