Finally after 7 months, I'm posting on the blog again! I'm also returning to South America, so it only seemed appropriate. This Sunday I leave for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to attend World Youth Day, which is a pilgrimage for young Catholics from all over the world. There will be MILLIONS of people attending. It's a week full of faith and cultural activities and celebration ending with Mass with the Pope!
Visit the official World Youth Day website to learn more: http://www.rio2013.com/en
Planning for this trip has been an exciting, nerve wracking and sometimes heartbreaking experience. I've been wanting to attend WYD since I went to the young Latin American Catholics conference in Paraguay last October, but after not being paid for a year and only starting a new job in February, I wasn't sure I could make it happen. There were several times that I thought about scrapping it--like when I realized how expensive a flight was, that it was too late to go with the group from Flagstaff and I'd have to go alone, when I thought I couldn't get a Brazilian visa, when I had to cut short my first visit back to Missouri to save my vacation days (I'm down to the wire)--but in the end it worked out!
Since it was too late for me to sign up with the group going from my church at Flagstaff, I'll be traveling alone to Brazil and meeting up with my friends from Paraguay! I'll only be alone for a short time until I meet up with friends, but it makes me a little nervous, so please keep me in your prayers! Bill & Chelsey--the US volunteers that took my place in Paraguay--are also going, so it will be great to hear how their experience has gone and to have people to attend some of the English speaking events with. I'll arrive early Monday morning (4 a.m.) and meet up with my friend Aldo. Aldo was part of our youth group in Paraguay and will be arriving in Rio de Janeiro the night before me, and has graciously agreed to wake up at 6 a.m. to hangout with me. I am SO grateful for this since my main group isn't arriving until sometime that afternoon or evening. Gotta love that Paraguayan sense of time! Once my group does finally arrive, I'll join up with them and see where I'll be sleeping for the week (minus the night we'll be sleeping under the stars).
Here's a schedule of events:
Monday, July 22: arrive in Rio, hangout and recuperate. Also hopefully squeeze in a shower.
Tuesday, July 23: vocations fair, youth festival, opening Mass
Wednesday, July 24: Catecheses, vocations fair, youth festival, and US pilgrim event
Thursday, July 25: Catecheses, vocations fair, youth festival and ceremony to welcome the Pope
Friday, July 26: Catecheses, vocations fair, youth festival and stations of the cross
Saturday, July 27: pilgrimage to vigil site, cultural activities and adoration with the Pope (this will be in a giant field that we'll sleep on for the night. I keep telling myself sleeping under the stars will be fun. If I say it enough times I'll start to believe it, right?)
Sunday, July 28: Mass in the morning with the Pope! He'll announce where the next WYD will be, and then I'm off to the airport on my way home!
Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers, and know that you will all be in mine. If you have any specific intentions let me know!
Dios los bendiga!