Greetings all from the group leader!!! We have had a crazy,beautiful, insanely blessed day!
We started off with an early breakfast and then most our group headed to catechesis. Our faithful body guard aka Dcn Kevin headed to Copacabana beach to secure a seat for watching Pope Francis drive by. Dcn. Kevin waited a good long time to make sure our group was right up on the barricade.
Our group that went to catechesis decided to leave early and grab lunch because public transportation into the beach was closing at 1pm. We met up with Dcn Kevin about 12 and camped out at the barricade for the next 6 hours. From 2-4 we tried to keep off the pushing people behind us trying to gain our spots. The last two hours we literally couldn't move. So many people had swarmed in. By time 530 pm rolled around there were SO many people behind us pushing that actually stateted moving the barricade!
Thankfully though the had a long row of volunteers in front of us to help push it back long with the Brazilian National Guard.
I'm SO happy and proud to share our group got pretty good video and picture footage of Pope Francis driving by. Us we were very tired and exhausted. And yes the pushing behind us was unlike anything I have ever experienced (and I've traveled a lot internationally) BUT there was SuCH a spirit of excitement and joy in the end it didn't matter. Even when it felt impossible we all encouraged each other to offer it for all those we are carrying in our hearts and prayers!!! We have been hearing almost 2 million were where we were today to greet the Pope
I'm SO proud to be Catholic and to represent our parish, family, and friends!!!!
Our group was an easy 5 feet away from the Pope; 4 if you count all that insane pushing! ;-)
After the thrill of seeing Pope Francis we walked a few miles and caught some taxis to take the rest of the way home. After a hearty brazilian dinner (the food here is amazing!!!!) and group debriefing/prayer we headed to our rooms.
Tomorrow we will have a time in the morning of some significant prayer and be sure to tine in at 915 am Detroit time to 990 AM radio for our live interview from Rio on our pilgrimage so far! Tomorrow is also the Stations of the Cross in the afternoon and then we'll begin to thoroughly pack for the vigil on Saturday.
Please be assured of our many prayers and sacrifices for all of you we carry in our hearts and minds!!!
Unfortunately we cannot seem to load pictures tonight because the Internet connection just seems to be kind of weird...be sure to stay tuned for our pictures of Pope Francis!
Love to all you in the States!!!
PS a very very happy 19 birthday to a pilgrim in our group the lovely Bethany Gilchrist...we love ya sweetie!!!!