Monday, April 21, 2014

World Youth Day- Brazil days 1-3

To be honest I've restarted this post more times than I can count anymore. Trying to put World Youth Day in words is like asking someone to count to infinity... it just can't be done. Let me just start by saying World Youth day was absolutely life changing. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before and was probably the best week of my life. Also so much happened in such a short time I decided to break this post up into shorter posts based on the days we were there.

I had THE best group anyone could ask for. The group was organized through Pan de Vida Retreat and so I was already friends with at least half of the people from retreats in the past and everyone else was so easy to get along with it was such a blessing. My chaperone was a close family friend and she and I had travelled out of country on mission together previously and so she was super easy to travel with and was just like my mom. We also had two priests with our group; Father Avram Brown (who I have also travelled with on mission a lot in the past and is like my brother) and Father Joseph mary (a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal whom I know from PDV retreats). 

The first day we all met at San Francisco airport, said goodbye to our families, and flew to Chicago. We left chicago and flew all night to São Paulo and had problems with our plane. Apparently they didn't have a gate or something for us and so we were stuck in our plane for a long time and they told us they would bring stairs so we could get out since most of us had very short layovers and the stairs they brought were broken so we waited even longer and finally they brought stairs and bussed us into the airport and we ran and caught our flight to Rio de Janeiro. When we landed we found out that another person in our group missed their flight. 

We drove to our base church, Our Lady of Aparecida, and met our JMJ guide, Alessandra, and got taken to our host houses. My host mom, Maria, was such a gift from God. She was the sweetest thing ever and I'm so happy I got to meet her. Then we walked back to the church to go to the opening mass. When we got there we took a bus to the metro station and found the metro that we needed to get us from where our host houses were to copacabana beach, where the opening mass was, broke. After a long time of trying to get to the opening mass and failing we finally gave up and decided to go home and try again the next day but then we accidently ended up at the beach right at the start of mass. 

I had no idea what to expect but as we walked up I saw all of the flags flying and everyone was singing and I was instantly so overwhelmed with joy. I fell so in love.. I can't explain it. I never wanted to leave that beach. Then when it came time for communion our leaders told us to not expect to receive communion because well, it's world youth day and there are thousands of people. Right then a communion station popped up next to us and our entire group got communion. Then on our way home that night a girl from the group we were paired with got lost and we looked for her until the metro closed. It was a crazy first day in Rio. We definitely all felt like everything was going wrong but at the same time we were so excited to be there.

After that crazy first day we decided to have a chill second day. We slept in and then went to mass at our church (because we had two priests with us we got our own mass every day). We went sight seeing after. First we saw Candalaria, the new Cathedral, a monastery (they even took us through all of this normally cloistered area, it was amazing!), and then ended up at a Franciscan monastery where our priests concelebrated Mass. Then we went home, had dinner, and went to bed. 

World Youth Day was definitely off to a good start. :) 


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