Posts Tagged ‘pope francis’

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World Youth Day 2013 was the trip of a lifetime. I remember it like it was yesterday, even though I’ve had countless adventures since– some of them even being abroad in Europe.  This gathering of millions of pilgrims from throughout the world was unique and unrepeatable. We were able to see Pope Francis, the first Latin American pope, ride by in his popemobile down Copacabana beach as we chanted “Papa Francisco” with millions of other Catholics from throughout the world.

On our way home we held praise and worship in the Rio de Janeiro Airport and bonded over the incredible experiences of the past few weeks, during which we prepared spiritually and physically for the World Youth Day gathering, travelled to Rio, and took part in the different events of JMJ that took place there. I exchanged Facebook credentials with many people from different countries and have successfully kept in touch with a number of them. We exchange Facebook messages full of prayer intentions and eager anticipation of World Youth Day in Poland, where we will hopefully reunite to celebrate our Catholic faith once again.

For me, World Youth Day was more of an energizing & encouraging witness than any sort of sudden realization about my faith… I tried as hard as I could to be open to what God had in store for me, and I truly believe that I got as much as I possibly could out of it because of my efforts to stay in the mindset of a pilgrim, constantly persevering through the hardships that accompany the pilgrimage experience. A huge part of what I gained on this trip was growing in the virtues of patience and temperance. There were more bumps in the road for us on this trip than anyone could have predicted, and through the frustration I learned to accept and trust in God’s will in a way that I’ve never been able to do before.

Reflecting on all of this today– when it has been nearly a year since we started preparing for World Youth Day– I am astounded at how much my experiences on that pilgrimage prepared me for what I have encountered in the past year. I have developed a new perspective on life: that life is a pilgrimage, and we are all pilgrims on a journey towards heaven. And while we are on this journey, it is critical that we stay close to the Lord in any way we can. The importance of things like participating in the sacraments, adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and spending a little time each day on spiritual reading cannot be stressed enough. It is how we can know that we will be able to overcome the obstacles that lie before us, “for nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 2.03.42 PMFollow our journey at World Youth Day 2013!
Here are some tips on how you can stay up to speed and follow along from home while we’re in Brazil:

* World Youth Day July 22-28- Don’t Miss it! Check out the free EWTN App, now available here.
* On the go? Take WYD Rio 2013 with you by downloading the EWTN App for iphone/iPad, Android or KindleFire- watch the live broadcast, follow program schedules, and Video on Demand.

Even if you can’t be there with us physically, you can come along virtually by following our video blogs as we share our pilgrimage experience, and you can watch EWTN’s live stream of World Youth Day events!!  So get excited… ‘cuz you’re coming too! 😀wyd-2013

We are currently testing out our equipment for recording and videotaping while we are in Brazil so we can keep you updated on what we are doing and hopefully share as much of our pilgrimage experience with you as possible. One of our goals for this trip is to get together with passionate youth from all around the world to witness to the beauty and truth of our Catholic faith, and that means sharing our experience with as many people as possible. That’s where you come in: tell your family & friends to follow our journey as well and take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of something BIG. We’re not just uploading memories of a fun, comfortable vacation in a foreign country; we are witnessing to the unity of the Catholic church and the awesomeness of living a true Christian life despite what secular culture thinks or says about us.

I remember the first time I attended a Catholic young adult conference called Steubenville San Diego in 2010; I was struck by how many Catholic teens were cheering and singing and jumping up and down, excited to discover that they weren’t alone, that there were thousands of teens just like them who are passionate about their faith. This message of hope– that we are not alone– is at the center of the Church’s mission of the New Evangelization. Right now there is a great need in the United States and in Christian countries throughout the world to re-propose the Gospel and invite people to renew their relationship with Christ and the Church. We will be learning and experiencing first hand what that entails by attending catechesis sessions and gatherings at World Youth Day in Rio. Millions of Catholics from all around the world will be there to empower one another to “Go and make disciples of all nations” {Mt 28:19}, which is the theme for this year’s WYD. Join us as we embark on this mission by taking advantage of the tremendous resources we have– including Youtube, social networking sites, and EWTN’s free app– which allow us to connect and share experiences from virtually any place in the world.

–Jessica