(Originally appeared in the Connecticut Post)

More than 250 people have registered to take part in the Bridgeport Diocese’s pilgrimage to Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day next July.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano posted on his Facebook page that more than $200,000 in financial aid has also been awarded to help people make the trip to Poland next summer. “There will be a second wave of financial aid awarded at the beginning of August, so I encourage all interested in coming with us to Krakow to apply,” he said.

The 12-day trip begins on Friday, July 22, 2016. The trip will also include a visit to the Auschwitz, the German concentration camp where millions lost their lives, including Saints Maximilian Kolbe, and Edith Stein. After stopping there, the group is hoping to make a brief stop in Wadowice, the home town of John Paul II. On July 27, the group will welcome Pope Francis to Krakow. The group will also attend a candlelight vigil and outdoor Mass with the pope.

“I can promise you that World Youth Day will be an incredible, life changing week, and one that you will never forget,” the bishop posted.

He encouraged young people who want to make the trip to register HERE as soon as possible noting that no deposit has to be made until Aug. 31.

Cassiano, who is serving as World Youth Day Liason for the U.S. bishops, spoke at the “Krakow Kickoff” on July 7 at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C, aqccording to Fairfield County Catholic. He acknowledged that attending the global gathering in Poland next summer will have a cost—not only in money, but also in time and the hardships of traveling to a foreign country. Although anyone is welcome to attend, the event focuses on young people. Some 30,000 are expected to attend World Youth Day 2016 from the U.S., and the anticipated overall attendance is 2.5 million.

The diocese says while hotel and flight costs are still being negotiated, it has “a reasonable estimate” of $3,600 per person for the trip, including all transportation, lodging, WYD registration and many meals.

There are two catagories of “pilgrims;” those who are 16-18 years old as of July 20, 2016 and who will graduate high school in 2016 or will still be enrolled in high school in the 2016-2017 school year will be considered “Youth Pilgrims.” Those who are 18-35 years old as of July 20, 2016, and who have graduated high school in 2015 or before will be considered “Young Adult Pilgrims.:

Caggiano also announced that John Grosso, social media leader of the Diocese of Bridgeport, has been named the coordinator of World Youth Day for the diocese. He will work with our World Youth Day Committee to plan the details of the pilgrimage, future meetings, and pre-WYD formation, which will begin in January 2016. Grosso has posted a YouTube videoto provide an update on the trip and the registration process.

Grosso said the diocese hopes to take 300 people on the pilgrimage.

Meanwhile, Caggiano is currently on pilgrimage to Italy visting holy sites in Sicily, Calabria, Bari, Campania and Rome “in a journey designed to celebrate the great saints of prior ages who are our inspiration and intercessors.”

He posted, “Pilgrimages are not meant to be vacations. They are meant to be times of sacrifice and prayer that help each pilgrim to attune themselves more deeply to the voice of God alive in their hearts. I very much enjoy the times of silence and reflection that pilgrimages have afforded me in the past and I pray for the grace to be able to offer these days in worship and praise of the Lord.”