Our pilgrimage is at it's completion
Greetings to our faithful followers. The summary of the last few days will be told by John(me...)
Ok. Sorry about not posting in a while. On Thursday I went to bed exhausted after that seven hour wait to see the pope so Patty took my place, thank you Patty! And on Friday we all got back really late after camping out on the beach to get a good spot for watching the stations of the cross. And yesterday and today was the vigil and final mass which I will explain next.
Saturday morning started out early for us because we wanted to get a good spot for the vigil. We then packed our bags using the special packing list prepared ahead of time. We then grabbed a bite to eat at our lovely hotel before heading out. Once all the groups had gathered we then heading out to were the food-boxes were located. Unfortunately for us by the time we got to the Museum of Modern Art(we really didn't get there that late) there was a massive line awaiting us. We are talking a line a few hours long. So instead of waiting I that mess for hours our group leaders decided to skip getting the food. So we ended up getting to the beach pretty early. We set up camp with our emergency blankets and tarps under our sleeping bags then we build a wall of sand around our group's perimeter we made a claim to our territory so that the other pilgrims would not invade our spot. Once everything was settled we took turns exploring the beach because it was a beautiful morning. Since it is winter down here and the strong undertow there weren't very many people in the water. We got some nice beach pictures of the members in our group.
Since we had several hours hours to spend (we got there at 10:00 am.) everyone took a nap and
went and bought food. When several of us returned from our lunch run we saw the streets full to
bursting with people who had just returned with their food kits. I felt so glad to have a spot on the beach saved for us. Because by now the entire beach was packed in like sardines. Here was the worst part of it all, the bathrooms. EVERYONE was unhappy with the situation. The problem started when the World Youth Day committee moved the vigil location from Campus Fidei to Copacabana Beach at the last minute due to all the rain we have had down here. The beach was not nearly prepared enough for 3.5 million people. The 2 Real underground restroom line was insanely long and the portapotty line and smell were even worse. I heard from some of the girls that went that the portapotties even overflowed at one point! Well now that I have explained the worst part of the entire trip I guess I can move on to happier things, like seeing the pope! We saw him in person three times this whole trip. He gave the youth an incredible joy at the sight of him. People cry and laugh, scream and shout, to see the Vicar of Christ in the flesh.
After a few hours the singing and dancing started and would not stop for a long time. We enjoyed
it for a while and then we put our amazing earplugs in and try to sleep on that sand. You would think
that sleeping on the sand is soft right? Well I have to tell the truth here, NOT SOFT. It becomes very
clumpy underneath you and then hard and cold at night. Some of us managed to sleep for a little bit before waking up for 10 O'clock mass. The final mass was completely breathtaking. The mass mass mostly in Portuguese, but certain parts were done in other languages too, for instance the second reading which was done in English and the prayer intentions of the faithful each one in a different language. Papa Francisco gave an awesome homily to the youth that we managed to catch parts of it due to the English translation station(88.3 fm.). After mass was over we stayed for around an hour and traded things with people from other countries and took pictures with them also. Then we left for the hotel, and because of the millions of people on the streets we had to walk from Copacabana beach to our hotel which was around 4 miles away, a pretty refreshing hike. And then we had supper, and relaxed for a while at the hotel.
I shall now wish you a good night and I also want to let you know that I am praying for all of you. If you could also pray for us too on our last leg of this massive pilgrimage I would
be eternally grateful. Thank you for taking this pilgrimage along with us in spirit, I hope that we have been good bloggers and pilgrims. So goodnight, and farewell. The next time I have the chance to talk or write to you it will be for the USA