I’ve been reminding parishioners at Sunday Mass that they should be aware of this celebration and should pray for all those attending World Youth Day. The event is held every three years (but it’s been only two years since Spain hosted the last World Youth Day.). Youth from all over the world meet one another as pilgrims in the host city. They sing, dance, pray, attend catechetical sessions and generally have a great time wearing themselves out for the Lord.
Pope Francis is, of course, the central figure galvanizing these youth. He is more spontaneous and outgoing than Benedict XVI but not as slick as John Paul II. He is genuine and enthusiastic for the Faith.
Pope Francis wants to make us all aware of the poor wherever he goes. I’m sure that the Brazilian authorities are not particularly happy that Pope Francis has decided to add a visit to the favelas, Rio’s slums, to his formal schedule. Brazilians are going to be embarrassed by videos of the pope walking through narrow, congested streets with their broken-down shacks displayed before the world.
The poor, you can be sure, will be out to greet Pope Francis and they will do so proudly.
I am looking forward to following the events in Rio and am anxiously awaiting the Holy Father’s
homily at the Mass at the end of the week.