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