In all my brief discussions with other people about how I’m going to Rio, whenever I tell them…sometimes they immediately jump to some idea that it’s going to be a vacation of sorts. Or, coming from some guys, the allure of Rio De Janeiro and attractive Brazilian women suddenly becomes the focus.
Then it gets awkward whenever I have to mention my reasons for going. I mean, maybe not to the extent that I talked about in a previous blog post (“Why I’m Going to Rio”), but rather just the quick, face-value reason of why I’m going: chaperoning a pilgrimage to Rio.
But I wanted to focus on how this is not a vacation. Yes, beaches and beautiful souls will be present, but those are not the focus of World Youth Day. This will be an encounter with the God and His universal Church! I mean, sooooo many people will be there from all over the world! And we will all have the opportunity to worship and encounter God together, especially through the Bishop of Rome, our supreme pastor, and his brother bishops as they teach the faith…through the Masses…through many other experiences that I have yet to find out about!
And this is a pilgrimage! We are coming from afar to have those encounters with God and His Church. We will welcome the sufferings, inconveniences, and causes of doubt and unite those with the sufferings of Christ so that we can find the strength to endure the trip itself, and whatever bodily, emotional and spiritual baggage we carry.
I don’t know about other groups to WYD…but I know we are taking the opportunities to deepen our prayer life by making prayer a constant thing everyday. That is through praying the Liturgy of the Hours, intercessory prayer, the Mass, devotions like the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet, praise and worship (led by a friar!), and other ways as well.
And so, I mustn’t fall into the idea that this is a vacation, because it won’t be. Yes, there will be times for fun and relaxation, but that is not the ultimate purpose in going to World Youth Day. It is much deeper than that.
So…-raises glass-… we are going Rio de Janeiro! We leave for the airport in a few hours!!!
St. Sebastian, pray for us! Because-apparently-the-city-of-Rio-is-technically-named-after-him!