Starting to Hit Me

10:32PM Sunday July 21, 2013

Somewhere over Caribbean from Miami to Rio

This whole time that we’ve gathered together as a pilgrimage group and spent that time in retreat together, it didn’t hit me. As we were flying from DFW to Houston and then Houston to Miami, it didn’t hit me. It’s been a constant feeling of some sort of indifference regarding that … we’re going to Rio!
In the moments leading up to boarding for the flight to Rio, it started getting more surreal for me. I think what helped contribute to that feeling was seeing other groups of pilgrims starting to gather at the gate. And my pilgrimage group seems to be a magnet for clergy and other religious, we were able to quickly befriend other seminarians and Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. What was really cool was inviting them to come pray Night Prayer from Liturgy of the Hours with us. And I even invited a group that we had met back in Houston because they were conveniently near us as well.
After we finished Night Prayer, that’s when it started getting more real to me. That’s when I realized other pilgrimage groups had gathered at the terminal. When it came time to board, some random guy from Grassroots Films took my group’s picture and interviewed two of us. I bet that I’ll show up on YouTube at some point, but because of him and his call for expressing our excitement for his video, that caused the other groups to be really excited as well. Lots of cheering at the gate!
That’s when it started becoming more real for me. 
And now, here I am in a 767 sitting on my product on my way to Rio for World Youth Day!
I’ve been saying that it probably won’t truly hit me until we’re actually in Rio. Like, me seeing the Christ the Redeemer statue with my own eyes.
And I must remember that this is not a vacation, that I’m not going to Rio for the sake of Rio itself, but rather to experience the Church with my fellow sinners in order to grow in faith. I do not know what to expect, but I’m open to whatever experiences that are in store for me this week.
– JD