Hello fellow pilgrims! I’m sorry it has been so long since my last message. The Internet access is very unpredictable here in Rio.
Since my last post, much has happened. Over a million pilgrims have taken over Rio de Janeiro and the locals have kept their cool like champs. Imagine if that happened to your city- 80% of the visitors don’t speak your language and they’re singing and dancing in the streets all day long.
That’s literally what it has been like since I’ve been here. Singing! Dancing! Chanting “PAPA FRANCISCO!” In Portuguese they chant, “THIS IS THE YOUTH OF THE POPE!!” Of course it’s way more catchy in Portuguese.
We started World Youth Day off with an opening mass where millions of people lined the Copacabana beach! If that’s not the coolest way ever to start something, I don’t know what is. (See photo at top of post.)
The next day those millions of pilgrims were all dispersed throughout Rio to do catechesis with Bishops from around the world. Every morning is a different bishop and a different topic. So far, I’ve had the Archbishop from Switzerland who spoke on “Jesus’ Human and Divine Nature”, the Archbishop of Sydney who spoke about “The Difficulty of Seeing Your Vocation”, and the Archbishop of Brisbane who spoke on “The Power of Faith and Our Specific Call as Youth to be Missionaries in our Day-to-Day Life.”
The response to these catechesis sessions has been overwhelming! After the talk, the young people line up and the Bishop answers questions for at least an hour- most times longer. Even if you don’t get called on to ask a question (like me) it’s so cool to hear the fellow young people asking questions and really searching for the truth.
In a world where all we’re fed is lies and more lies it’s nice to see we’re not alone in our quest for the truth. The Swiss Archbishop even played his guitar and sang for us!
And then- last night!! The pope came to see us on Copacabana (Popacabana?) Beach! He greeted us: Dear Young Friends!!
The crowd went wild!!
We truly are a youth who loves our Holy Father! One of the most touching parts of the whole night was when the Pope met a few youth on stage, one from each continent. They greeted him and then Pope Francis just embraced them. Besides being jealous, I thought it was so wonderful. It was such a fatherly gesture; pure, simple, and very affectionate.
It is such a pleasure and inspiration to be here in the middle of all the joy and rejoicing despite the torrential rains.
Please pray for us- and know we are praying for you!