Holy Family Catholic Church will host a 5K race and family walk Saturday, April 6 to benefit the teenage pilgrimage to 2013 World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The goal is to raise more than $36,000, about $3,000 per teen, to cover lodging, airfare and registration, said Teri Spears, fundraiser coordinator.

Her son, Matthew, is one of 12 Holy Family teens headed to World Youth Day.

“There are six adults who will chaperone and pay their own way,” Spears said.

World Youth Day is a weeklong international event held every few years in different locations around the globe, according to www.worldyouthday.com. The first event was held in Rome in 1986, and the last was in 2011 in Madrid, Spain. The next will be July 23-28 in Rio de Janeiro.

Expected attendance for World Youth Day 2013 was initially about 2 million, but because the new pope is from Argentina, attendance may surpass 3 million, organizers said.

Although some pilgrims will be accommodated by families, schools and religious centers in Rio de Janeiro, most of those facilities are already booked, leaving participants to seek paid lodging.

Race organizer Rocio Rivas does not see this as a deterrent and said the teens are excited about the trip to Brazil. Her oldest son, Adan, one of the pilgrims, speaks Spanish, and several others are familiar with the language. One of the chaperones also speaks Portuguese and knows Brazilian culture.

“(Adan) is really looking forward to summer, as are all of the children,” Rivas said. “They are very excited and expecting the best.”

Kristina Williams-Myers will accompany her three children on the pilgrimage and serve as a chaperone.

“Really, I’m there to help any of the kids in their spiritual needs,” she said. “Children will be able to see the new pope, and that alone is exciting.”

All proceeds will cover the teens; chaperones will pay their own way.

The 5K begins and ends at Holy Family’s parking lot at 1001 Georgetown Road in Copperas Cove. Registration and check-in are from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and the race starts at 8 a.m.

Registration fees are $20 before Sunday and $25 afterward. The family fun walk is $15 per person or $50 for two adults with two children under 10. Pre-registration closes at 8 p.m. April 5. To register, go to www.active.com/5k-race/copperas-cove-tx/world-youth-day-5k-race-family-walk-2013.

To sponsor a teen or donate to the pilgrimage, call Megan James or Karin Kennedy at (254) 547-3735.

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