Rio At Last!
Hello all my fellow countrymen from the United States! Later in the post we will have another blogger who will share with you the World Youth Day experience through his eyes. For now though It is I, John, who will be bringing you along for the recollection of a lifetime! And forgive me if this post is a little short (we have a very good reason we have to wake up and have breakfast by 5:15 AM... we have to be eating and ready for the whole day by 5 IN THE MORNING!!!)
We begin with a very early breakfast at about 7ish. My host Family was almost in tears to see us go. We then went to the church. I found out that we were not actually going to have mass at the local church but instead we were going to have it at the Aparacida (yes I misspelled it yesterday). Father Daniel, one of the leaders of our group(and a native of Brazil so he is our translator) told us Sunday night that we all had to be at the church by 7:45 or we were not going on the bus. But, then this morning when we were all waiting at the church steps with our group we see Fr. Daniel and his host family arriving at 8:05! We all had a few laughs after that one. ANNOUNCEMENT: I am sorry folks but there will be no pictures today do to technical difficulties, we only have an Ipad at the moment and we cannot load our pictures from the cameras. Anyway back to the story... We all gathered on the church steps and took pictures and said good-byes with our hostfamilies. We then received ANOTHER t-shirt from our Jacerei friends, for we now have been given 4 t-shirts and will receive another official wyd shirt tomorrow in our pilgrim packs. After we received our gifts we had to board the bus immediately. And as soon as we were all on the bus the Brazilians broke out in song! They sang us a farewell in Portuguese that was very touching. We then left. Now is the very boring part of the story, until lunchtime of course. We talked and we slept. I actually got to talk with Father Steve from Duluth. He was very nice and we talked for quite some time. We then arrived at the Aparacida. Here I will let another WYD Pilgrim share. Please welcome Deacon Kevin Breen!
It has been a wonderful experience and we all have met many generous and gracious people. My host family was Arrigo and Lourdes. Every morning Lourdes was up early to fix a traditional Brazilian breakfast of assorted breads, cheese, smoked meats, and of course the always present mango. Their parish of Paroquia Imaculada Conceicao, all welcomed us with great joy, with parties both Saturday and Sunday evening in the church square, right in front of the church. One of the high points so far was being able to serve as deacon at the 7pm Sunday Mass in a church built in the late 1700's; proclaiming the Gospel in English to a Brazilian congregation; translated by the Pastor to Portuguese, with a Ukranian Catholic priest who also speaks Portuguese AND a priest from Minnesota concelebrating the Mass. It was certainly a GREAT example of our Universal Catholic Church! This morning we had a tearful goodbye to all our host families and parishioners, and boarded the bus to Rio. After a long drive today we arrived in Rio this evening and are resting for our further adventures in Rio and welcome Pope Francis. God Bless all our friends and families at home; know that you are ALL in our Prayers! Boa noite!