Saturday July 20

The day started out with bacon. Despite going to bed at 2AM, I had a harsh wake up call at 7AM with the ordinary, intended wake up call by our group leader. But that was immediately followed by the fire alarm going off, which was immediately followed by the fire alarm being turned off. I thought to myself how this was a really effective way to wake us all up since the guys slept downstairs and the girls upstairs. But it turned out that the reason why the fire alarm went off was because the breakfast crew was attempting to cook bacon and created a lot of smoke in the kitchen. There was so much smoke that we made the obligatory Catholic joke that this was incensing the kitchen. After all that, I got up and started taking pictures and helping our friar cook bacon (that’s a pun).

Breakfast was ready at about 7:45AM and was a feast of plain and blueberry pancakes with the bacon, some sausage, and eggs as well. 
Just before 9AM, we headed over to the church proper in order to have Mass.  A few of the other guys and myself were called over to the parish hall in order to help out the Schoenstatt’s couple’s retreat get set up for their own breakfast. That was cool, for me anyway, because I got to talk to some of my favorite families and talk about our trip to Rio. Mass was celebrated by their Schoenstatt priest (which by the way, Schoenstatt is a lay movement in the church with a great devotion to Mary that originated in Germany). It was cool during Mass because the priest acknowledged us pilgrims and gave us a special blessing for our trip.
After Mass, we returned to our meeting place in the other building. We prayed Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, and then the silent portion of our retreat ended. After some discussion on logistics, we broke off to different houses for showering. This would be our last time to shower before Rio. It was here that I found out a #FunFact about my parish and how there is only one shower facility on the entire grounds located in an old rectory. I stuck around for a while talking to a few others who didn’t go off to go shower immediately.  I actually went back home to go shower, which worked out nicely because I got to see my dad before he left for work, my bro having just returned from rehearsal, and my mom. After showering, I headed back up to the church.
By the time I got back, a good chunk of the others had made it back and were setting up for lunch. For lunch, we had deli sandwiches and a lot of leftover bacon. Turkey bacon lettuce tomato sandwich was delicious. It was here during lunch that I lost a game of “What Are The Odds?” (It’s like a variation of the dares of Truth or Dare with probability) and had to drink lemonade mixed with maple syrup. It was lemony sweet.
After lunch, we did several activities. One of these was prayerfully reading the end of the Gospel according to Matthew where Jesus commissions His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. We did this via Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading), which is a really, really old way of prayerfully reading Scripture not to form our own interpretations of Scripture, but rather, to be open to what God wants to say to us in a particular passage. We shared as a group, and most of us focused on the part where it says that the disciples doubted as well as the last verse where Jesus says that He will be with us until the end of the age. It was good discussion to help us enter more deeply into the theme of World Youth Day which is to go and make disciples of all nations.
At some point after lunch, Fr. Patricio who celebrated this morning’s Mass graciously came by to hear confessions for an hour for everyone. 
After Lectio Divina, we broke into our small groups for the trip. This makes managing a group of about 30 easier by having smaller groups of people. My partner ended up being the woman who is from Brazil, so I’m grateful for that in case of situations where that would be useful. My group includes 2 from STA, and 2 from SEAS (which includes my unofficially adopted bro-minarian!)
With all those activities completed, we had some time go have brief lessons in Portuguese! My small group partner graciously gave us some brief conversational phrases to help us out whenever we’re down in Rio. It throws me off because Portuguese looks and sounds like Spanish but it isn’t.
At some point, Fr. Patricio finished up with hearing confessions and gave us all another blessing for our trip before leaving.  That was neat! Feeling blessed, indeed!
We all went to the 5:30PM vigil Mass. After Mass, I got to talk to other friends who happened to be at the Mass, and we got to talk about our upcoming trip to Rio.
Then after all that we cooked bacon cheeseburgers for dinner then had free time after that.
However, I did duck out for a while in order to stop by a fellow brother Knight’s 50th birthday at our Knights Hall. Of course, one does not simply attend such an affair without eating and socializing with others. Unfortunately, I ended up staying there longer than intended. On top of that, I had to make a Wal-Mart run aft that so I didn’t make it back to meet up with everyone until 10:30pm. Bad idea.
I stayed up longer to blog and to do last-minute packing so that the morning wouldn’t be as rushed.
– JD