(Part of our group after the Mass with the Pope)
Day Seven. I woke up on copacabana beach. Probably everyone on the beach was already awake except my house mate and me. Everyone was dancing and singing to the flash mob song. We brushed our teeth, carefully changed clothes in our sleeping bags, sang some songs, and talked to people around us. That's the thing about World Youth Day, you get to talk to people all the time, everywhere you go. The fact that I had been in Guatemala for two months before (and only got home two days before we left) made me really confident in my Spanish and that helped a lot because everywhere we went people spoke Spanish. Then the Papal Mass started. We watched it on the screens that were across the beach just like every major event that week. The Mass like most things that week was in Spanish so I actually got to understand what was being said, such a blessing! After Mass we decided that since we were already at the beach we would stick around there for the rest of the day instead of trying to fight our way out of the 4 million person crowd. Our priests came back from serving mass AND BROUGHT OUR ENTIRE GROUP COMMUNION! Like no one except the priests got communion that day because with the last minute venue change it wasn't possible but our entire group did! We made sandwiches, body surfed and just hung out on the beach all day. Then we went back to our host houses, showered because we all needed it after spending two days on the beach, and went to our pizza place for the last time. We stayed there really late for our last night and maxed out our wyd food cards because it was the last day to use them. Then we went home and went back to bed.
(Copacabana Beach Sunday morning)
Day eight. We woke up and had our daily mass. Then our group split. The two priests and a few other people left to go to the Amazon that day and the rest of us enjoyed our last day in Rio. We finally got to go see Cristo Redentor! The huge Jesus statue that Rio is known for had become a daily topic of conversation. We would even tell the weather by whether or not you could see "Giant Jesus." We got to Corcovado (where Giant Jesus is) a few hours before our tickets said so we got to do some shopping for the first time and spend a lot of time in the church there. Then we went up to the statue and saw some monkeys and took a TON of pictures. It was SO unbelievably crowded. There is a small chapel in the base of the statue and a bishop from Spain was celebrating Mass which was so cool to see. Then we went to the base of sugar loaf and decided we would just hang out around there on the beach instead of waiting four hours to go up there. We had dinner with the Minnesota group that we were paired with and our guide Alessandra for the last time at a Brazilian BBQ place. It was amazing! My chaperone left that day and so did our host mom so my two other house mates and I moved to another host house when we got back. Our new host house was our previous neighbor and where our priests had been staying before they left. Beth, her husband, her daughter and son, her daughter's boyfriend, and her nieces were all waiting for us when we got there. We had so much fun staying up and visiting with them. We got to know her nieces who were SO excited to meet Americans. We got their contact information, cried a little, laughed a lot, and of course ate. We got internet for the first time that night! I was so happy because it was my mom's birthday so I got to write her. We stayed up talking for a long time and finally got to sleep. I got a bed for the first time that night. Definitely a treat!
Day nine. We woke up really early, showered, packed our things, and went to our church. There we said goodbye to our guide and all of our host families. Needless to say we were all crying then. Our second host mom gave all three of us girls brazilian treats and containers of goiaba to take home. She's the sweetest. We got on a bus with a group from San Diego and started the drive to São Paulo. I slept most of the way to be honest. Then we went to the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida. It was so huge and gorgeous! When we got in there Mass was being celebrated so that was cool to see. Our bus driver gave us a couple hours there which was definitely not enough time. Then we drove to the ariport. We got through security surprisingly quickly considering the whole airport was packed with people from WYD. There were priests everywhere so my friend and I decided to pick one to ask to bless the religious items that we bought for ourselves and as presents. We went over to this group of three priests because they spoke Spanish. We asked one of them if he would bless our stuff and he laughed and was like, "Yes, but these other two are Bishops so they should probably do it." So then we asked them and they did and we talked to them for a really long time. We were so excited that we got our stuff blessed by Bishops from Spain that we kept telling everyone in our group about it when they walked by and pretty soon alost our entire group was there asking for blessings. Then we got on our plane to fly home.
(The outside of the Basilica)
Day ten. We flew all night and landed in Chicago. Most of our group didn't sleep much but like the flight there I fell asleep after about an hour and woke up as they were serving breakfast less than an hour before landing in Chicago. We had a pretty long layover there but there were still some other wyd people in the airport. Then we flew home. It was definitely an amazing trip.
Random Pictures :)
(Group that went to Guatemala a few years ago and Brazil. Note: Emilio is filling in for his sister ;p)
(Father Joseph Mary in his vestments from the Papal Mass)
(Our church, Our Lady of Aparecida)
(Upstairs in one of the churches)
(In the adoration chapel at the voaction fair site)