Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Almost there

Last evening, MK Amiotte was singing "Homeward Bound" by Simon and Garfunkle. The chorus pretty aptly captured my own sentiment. Now we're almost there. We're on the road from Denver, expecting to be in Rapid around ten tonight. As we go, I'm trying to get the thoughts of a few more pilgrims. 

John Vargo: Life in Brazil taught me what true hospitality was. We stayed in homes that didn't speak much English and yet tried their hardest to communicate with us and be our parents. On the streets I was able to ask a random stranger for directions and it filled them with joy to help me. It's amazing that a whole nation could be so welcoming to the Catholic youth from around the world.  

Allie Verry: This whole trip feels unreal. The fact that we were welcomed into people's homes so wholeheartedly is mind blowing enough. Add to that the craziness of three million people all gathered onto one beach for one purpose, to worship and share the love of Christ...I can barely believe it  and I was a part of it. This has definitely been the most amazing experience of my life. It's hard to put into words, I'm not sure if I could ever do it justice. 

From the Pilgrims

Sean: My experiences in Brazil continue to impress me as we fly home. Everything I saw and had the opportunity to do are still fairly amazing to me. I was blessed enough to see The Christ Redeemer and Copacabana  beach, and yet it was the people that left the most lasting impression on me. The amount of love and hospitality poured forth from the Brazilian people was nothing short of amazing. Although my faith was strong before the trip, it was strengthened more by seeing Christ in our hosts loving actions.

Colen Kling: The trip was awesome. I love getting out and seeing the world and the different ways people live. The thing I most enjoyed was that even though the culture was so different every one shared the same faith and one really got a sense of the solidarity in the church, (its like,we're all in this together).  Seeing this strengthened my faith and my hope for the church. I'm excited to see what the future will hold. Finally I hope to take this experience and share the faith with those at home. Also I enjoyed getting to know everyone in our group better. I thank God for all the blessings and even though we were halfway around the world seeing the whole church on that beach felt like coming home. 

Jackie Kuhn: My expectations for this trip were very low, mostly out of fear of the unknown. That being said there wasn't a single concern or anxiety (trust me there were a lot) that God didn't take away or help me through within the first day two. It was amazing to share experiences with so many people from throughout the world, who all share the same beliefs. One of my favorite moments was walking to the beach, through the tunnels-everyone was cheering and encouraging each other. I feel so blessed to have been a part of this group and get to grow in love for Jesus with all the people along the way. 

Pics From Cecilia Lang

Papal Homilies

Homily from Opening Ceremony: 

Homily From Stations of the Cross:  http://wydcentral.org/stations-of-the-cross-with-pope-francis/

Homily From Vigil:  http://www.sconews.co.uk/news/30148/field-of-faith-pope-francis-homily-from-wyd-vigil/

Homily From Sunday Mass: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2013/07/28/wyd-2013-full-text-of-pope-franciss-homily-for-world-youth-days-closing-mass/

Homily From Mass with Bishops: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-to-clergy-religious-seminarians-respond-to-go


The bus trip to São Paulo was relatively uneventful, punctuated only by hacking coughs acquired by the majority of the group, and five hours waiting in the airport were easily filled with finding food, prayer, cards, and more napping. Before boarding the plane, we took time to hear testimonies from Andrew and Krysta, to share graces from pilgrimage, and pray Compline. An on-time departure brought us onto US soil slightly earlier than planned this morning, and we are now reassembling to board the flight to Denver. Though trying to stay plugged in to the experience, most are now ready to simply be home. We are only hours away. See you soon.  


Monday, July 29, 2013

From the Pilgrims

Jonathon Hofer: The joy I have experienced on this pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Brazil is inexpressible on a blog. Many people know I'm a bit of a story teller. Trust me, there will be stories to tell. But for now, I will sign off with the pinnacle of my trip; sitting in tears during the final mass with the waves crashing Iike thunder to my right as 3.5 million catholic young people and the universal church prayed the psalm, "Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound." The paradox of the simple and yet profound was a common theme with my WYD experience, and with Pope Francis' commissioning of us as missionaries, that we must be the Campus Fidei and we must not be afraid.

Amanda Julian:  I am so blessed to have been a part of the Rio de Janeiro pilgrimage this summer. I also was able to go to the 2011 pilgrimage in Madrid, and Rio was similar and different in the most perfect ways. The friendships I have made in Brazil are some of the best in my life, the sights I've been able to see left me breathless, but the strength of faith I was able to experience was what was the most valuable of this journey. To be able to celebrate my intimate faith with millions of other young people such as myself is something powerful enough to make me never feel alone. To be a part of something so much bigger than myself is an event I know I will never forget. I am blessed in so many ways, and I could never stop thanking all of those who helped get me here. This is an experience I'll be sure to not keep to myself, I will help go make disciples of all nations.

Andrea Driscoll: The experiences we had in Brazil were life changing; we were able to celebrate the Eucharist with millions of young adults, listen to our holy father, and grow in our faith. Though these events are powerful, it was the kindness and hospitality of the Brazilian people that warmed my heart. From the moment we touched down in Brazil we have been welcomed with open arms. The people we have met through our journey have demonstrated God's love and how we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. I thank the Brazilians from the bottom of my heart, we truly are all God's children regardless of the language. 

Jesse Willis: There are some distractions that can make one easily frustrated on a pilgrimage like WYD; the weather,the long days, and the people.You can easily get into a state of self pity and lose focus on the blessings that God has given us. Countless times I forgot that I was in beautiful Brazil with millions of other young Catholics trying to find out God's will. I don't think I realized this until Father Sparks told us that  WYD is as similar to heaven that we can get on earth, people from all nations gathering for Christ. When you put WYD into that perspective it is easier to deal with the frustrations.