The God of goodness wanted that I be a pilgrim at World Youth Day Rio 2013. The meeting was excellent! It was prepared through prayer services and events that came together to be one of the best WYD that the world has seen.
The Missionary Week is linked to the WYD and I, as a Vincentian, went to the Cidade dos Meninos (City of the Boys), in Belo Horizonte, July 18-21. There almost one thousand young people shared, during four days, vigils, catechesis, workshops, Mass, festivals, sports and visits to Vincentian works with the slogan: “Vincentian: Missionaries of Charity. Let’s go to the Poor!.” All activities were very good, but I dare to highlight the Marian Vigil, where we celebrated the first apparition of Mary to Saint Catherine Labouré and then the foundation of Vincentian Marian Youth.
On the morning of July 22, we arrived at Rio de Janeiro and were welcomed to the parish Our Lady of Presentation, where we stayed at the houses of families or at schools. The family that welcomed me received five more young people. We were very well treated and I am very grateful to the people of Rio de Janeiro, who were very willing during the whole meeting.
WYD has several activities and in Rio 2013 it was not different. So, there was catechesis in the morning, festivals in the afternoon, plus the tourist attractions of the Cidade Maravilhosa (WonderfulCity). There was, of course, the meeting with Christ in the brothers and sisters, especially on the central acts of the WYD – Opening mass, Welcoming of Youth to the Pope, Via Crucis, Vigil and Sending Mass.
Our practical action as Vincentian Youth, during the WYD, was a manifestation for Peace. This activity intended to express our fight against all kind of violence in the world and our desire of a universal peace that will be reached only with the union of everyone in Christ.
I tried to live all those moments intensely. I must recognize that it was a super WYD. I very much liked the welcome we gave to Pope Francis, his words and closeness to us. His way of being gives hope and shows a new Church, a Christ more sensitive to the cry of the Poor. I remember his three last words: “Go, don’t be afraid and serve”, as well as the picture of the boy with the Pope who said that he would like to serve God as a priest.
May God help us to live this command. May we have courage to “go” with Jesus and, sent by him, leave the “fear” of doing the will of the Father, as Blessed Mary did, and “serve” the most needed, as Saint Vincent de Paul witnessed.
Finally, I thank God and everyone who contributed, directly or indirectly, so that I could live this remarkable moment in the history of the Church in Brazil and in the world, and ask them to pray for me. Count on my prayers!
A hug in Christ, Missionary.
Cleber Oliveira – Vincentian Marian Youth