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Don’t let the press or anyone from the world tell you that youth and young adults don’t care about their faith. 3 million people united in one place says alot to the world-we care. During catechesis in one church about 200 people from all over the world (USA, Scotland, Brazil, Zambia, Nigeria, Syria, Saudia Arabia, Philippines, and others) were together for 3 mornings singing, dancing and discussing our religion. One thing I learned at these is that the problems I encounter getting the young ones to youth meetings and religious ed classes is the same all over the world. One bishop’s answer kept coming to “Pray for them”.
At the Vocations Fair, we passed booth after booth of consecrated persons and laity who help the poor and meet the needs of the world. Very inspiring. Keep praying for those who are thinking about and discerning about their vocations. It is a very important and serious part of their lives. Then there were the confessionals and to see persons receiving Reconciliation in the open but in a private way showed true courage and faith. We stopped in the Sisters of Charity tent where Adoration was taking place. People came and went as they willed and needed to but all were reverent and quiet. You could see they cared to participate in this special part of our faith.
Throughout the week we attended the Opening Ceremony with the pope, the Stations of the Cross, the Vigil (until we had to leave). Due to safety and transportation concerns, we ended up watching the closing Mass at our hotel on the large screen in the restaurant. The management allowed us to do so without a hassle. Thanks to them. We set up a table under the television, set out the American flag and the school flag of the other group, and then placed the items we wanted blessed by the pope on the flags.
I heard bus drivers and taxi drivers exclaiming (yes, exclaiming!) about the continuous line of pilgrims walking from the city park all the way to Copacabana Beach. They would drive by and there would be a line, they would drive by later and there still was a stream of walkers, later toward evening there were still people walking the road to the Vigil.
Wherever we went in Rio we met pilgrims (how could we not with 3 million in one city?) who were courteous, curious, welcoming, sharing, singing, dancing and laughing. It truly was an example of showing the world the joy of the Lord. Susan
World Youth Day was absolutely amazing! It was such an incredible feeling to be among three million other young Catholics from all over the world and to be united together in our beautiful Catholic faith.
Our group was blessed to have three close encounters with Pope Francis as he drove by. Those were amazing moments!
I consider myself truly blessed that I had this opportunity to attend WYD. It was an amazing experience and I have many wonderful memories that will remain with me forever.
Thank you for praying for us and for following us on our blog!
I can’t believe it was a year ago that I first started thinking about going to World Youth Day. We have gone through a lot since then getting ready for the trip, but it was all worth it!
I have so many great memories from the week that’s it hard to pick favorites but getting to see Pope Francis drive by was definitely one of the best! Realized just how universal the Catholic Church is by meeting people from many different countries: Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, Venezuela, India, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Luxembourg, Lebanon, Argentina, Bangladesh, Uruguay, New Guinea, Poland, Columbia, and of course Brazil!
We ended up not going to the closing ceremony on Sunday morning because both Friday and Saturday night we were in the middle of a protest and did not want to risk our safety again. So we just watched it in the hotel restaurant before leaving for the airport.
At some moments it seems like WYD was just a dream. Saying that it was awesome is an understatement, compared to how it really was. I will remember it all for the rest of my life.
I want thank Susan…after approaching her to ask for information about WYD many months ago, she volunteered herself to be our group leader. Her help in preparing for the trip is appreciated. And thanks to everyone who followed us on the blog – it was fun sharing our adventures with you!
Now that I am safely home, I can now look back at my week in Rio de Janeiro. I have already had people come up to me and ask what I thought about it or what the best part was. The problem is people do not know what these questions entail. There are so many events and lessons that come to mind when I think about World Youth Day. It was truly indescribable.
Throughout the week, I was able to see the Holy Father in person, interact with strangers without understanding anything they’re saying, and join three million faithful in prayer. It seems almost as a dream. One part of the week that I hold with deep respect is being the flag bearer for most of the week.
Before the week, I had a small understanding of what it meant to be a United States’ citizen and what the American flag means. But now, I now know what the flag represents. There would be random pilgrims run up to us just because they saw the American Flag. They would ask for a picture with the flag, trade items, or have me sign me their book bags. It was something that made me really reconsider my pride to be an American. I know citizens look badly on this country, but I don’t know if they know just how blessed we are. When I arrived back into the country, there were no better words than, “Welcome Home.” – Kevin