Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Testimonies / Témoignages

These are some testimonies from a few of our WYD pilgrims:

Summing up World Youth Day in a few short sentences is difficult! It's been an amazing few weeks filled with life changing experiences. Top one would have to be seeing Pope Francis. It's the first time I've seen any pope, definitely a dream come true! During Mission Week prior to WYD in Rio, our group was asked to provide an hour of worship music and readings for adoration.  It was fun practicing and playing together, also watching people enter into prayer with Jesus through our worship was a blessing. One of the days in Rio, a few of us went up to see Christ the Redeemer statue in the early morning. Fellow pilgrim Jonathan Roy proposed to Alice De Roth just as the sun was rising! Such an amazing moment!

As I head back home after these few weeks of pilgrimage, I will be taking back with me the message of faith, hope, and most especially the enthusiasm and zeal for the Church that I've seen here with more than three million young Catholics gathered together from all around the world. 

God bless,
Erin Humphrey


WYD 2013 in Rio was actually my third World Youth Day. With that experience in hand, I've learned that it's better not to have too many set expectations for this massive pilgrimage. That being said, I found that WYD in Rio managed to surprise me in many ways. For instance, I definitely did not expect the closing Mass site to be moved because the original site was flooded. Of course, some of these developments, such as the rainy weather for much of the week and a chaotic transportation system, were disappointing. But this is not a vacation! This is a pilgrimage, and curve balls are part of the whole experience - not to mention that they are an opportunity for us to grow in certain virtues, such as patience. To be sure, there were some high points as well. The catechesis sessions were amazing, and of course it helped that they were in English, a welcome respite from the Portuguese-speaking Brazilian world. Indeed, one of the biggest culture shocks for me was actually Holy Mass, as in Brazilian it seems to be mostly a loud, long celebration. For me, not having some quieter moments as well as understanding very little that was going on was definitely a struggle, so to be part of a Mass that was much more comfortable for me was welcome. That being said, it was quite a special moment to be able to go to Mass at Copacabana Beach twice, both times receiving Communion. I could go on and on about all the highs and lows of WYD, but that would be quite the novel. All in all, I am happy to have been part of this World Youth Day and of the second-largest closing Mass in WYD history at 3.2 million people!

God Bless,
Nicolas Church 


Les JMJ à Rio de Janeiro ont été différentes de mes trois dernières JMJ à Madrid, à Sydney et à Cologne. Les journées en mission avec les Oblats à Aparecida nous ont permis d'animer l'adoration pour des centaines de jeunes de partout autour du monde! Ce fut une expérience inoubliable! À Rio, nous étions bénis que le Pape François passe devant notre hôtel en voiture tous les jours. Les catéchèses auxquelles nous avions assistés étaient très enrichissantes et le sacrement de réconciliation très profond pour moi! J'ai aimé pouvoir rester à la vigile toute la soirée, particulièrement parce que le lieu avait changé à la dernière minute et on ne savait pas si on pouvait rester la nuit jusqu'au soir-même! 

Sarah Du Broy


WYD in Rio was an experience to remember! First of all, my boyfriend's proposal at the foot of Christ the Redeemer will be engraved in my memories forever!
Second, I was able to see the Pope up close, from a few feet away, not once, but three times! Each time was special and powerful! "Papa Francisco", as they lovingly call him, has such a genuine smile, filled with tenderness and humility. The crowds were running after his Popemobile to get just one more glimpse of His Holiness.
What I will take home from this first WYD is the joy I felt of being able to openly, freely and proudly celebrate and rejoice in my Catholic faith with millions of young people and finally not feel like the minority, but the majority!  Every single person I met was a testimony of faith to me and has re-invigorated my faith, my hope and my love for God. 

Alice De Roth

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