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Pope and young people down by the seashore

RIO DE JANEIRO — The rain and the wind did not dampen the spirits of hundreds of thousands of World Youth Day participants this evening and they didn’t dampen the pope’s either. In fact, he seemed in no hurry to leave, repeating phrases, ad-libbing encouragement and simply readjusting his cape every time the wind blew it over his head.

Pope greets crowd as he arrives at World Youth Day welcome ceremony on Copacabana beach. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope greets crowd as he arrives at World Youth Day welcome ceremony on Copacabana beach. (CNS/Paul Haring)

In his first remarks to the young people at the huge World Youth Day celebration on the beach July 25, Pope Francis spoke of belonging to the great family of faith and that included a moment of silent prayer for Sophie Moriniere, a French WYD pilgrim who died July 17 in a car accident in French Guiana.

The celebration also included a “shout out” to retired Pope Benedict XVI, who chose Rio as the site of WYD 2013. Pope Francis told the young people that Pope Benedict was watching on television from Rome and had promised to pray for them.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said an estimated 1 million people were on the beach for the ceremony with the pope.

Pope Francis said he knew the youths had a variety of reasons for being part of World Youth Day and a variety of levels of previous involvement with the church. “But today you are all here — or better yet, we are all here together as one in order to share the faith and the joy of an encounter with Christ, of being his disciples,” the pope said in his introductory remarks.

Katherine Tanadi, 21, from the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd in Singapore told Catholic News Service that World Youth Day already “has been a life-changing experience.”

Standing on the beach, she said Rio was her first WYD and “I have met young Catholics from all over the world. It’s incredible.”

Ida Szuzepaniak, 25, from Poznan, Poland, said the experience of being in Rio with hundreds of thousands of her peers has taught her “that I have to have more patience, I need to pray more.”

In a homily during a Liturgy of the Word, Pope Francis told the young people that Jesus asks each person gathered on the seashore: “Do you want to be my disciple? Do you want to be my friend? Do you want to be a witness to my Gospel?”

The Gospel reading for the service was St. Luke’s account of the transfiguration of Jesus, including St. Peter’s line, “Master, it is good that we are here.”

In his homily, the pope echoed those words, telling the young people that it is always good to be gathered around Jesus and to keep Jesus at the center of their lives.

Faith, he said, is a “Copernican revolution,” an operation that shifts concerns and priorities so that they revolve around Jesus and not the individual or false idols.

“Certainly possessions, money and power can give a momentary thrill, the illusion of being happy,” he said, “but they end up possessing us and making us always want to have more, never satisfied.”

Instead, he said, with Christ as the center of your life “you will never be disappointed.”

Pope Francis asked the young people to think about a meal and what it means to “put on salt,” then he told them, “Put on faith and your life will take on a new flavor.”

“Put on hope and every one of your days will be enlightened and your horizon will no longer be dark,” he told them. “Put on love and your life will be like a house built on rock, your journey will be joyful because you will find many friends to journey with you.”

“Put on Christ,” he said, “you will find a friend in whom you can always trust” and “your life will be full of his love.”

Getting practical about matters, the pope told the young people that Christ is waiting to wash away their sins in the sacrament of penance, to nourish them with his body in the Eucharist and to encounter them through their Christian peers who will give them friendship, encouragement and support.

As winter darkness settled over the crowd, Pope Francis told the young people to offer the witness of faith and the service of charity to others, “carrying to this world a ray of his light.”

Video: Pope visits recovering addicts

Cardinal Dolan discusses Pope Francis’ visit to St. Francis of Assisi Hospital in Rio de Janeiro.

Video: Cardinal Dolan: Does WYD work?

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan discusses the challenges that face a successful World Youth Day.

Video: Pope Francis venerates Our Lady of Aparecida

A look at Pope Francis’ visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida.


Video: Protesters and pilgrims together in Rio

Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Neb. discusses the importance of World Youth Day for young Brazilians in the context of the recent political demonstrations.

Jamborees are ‘awesome,’ says priest who is longtime Scout and chaplain for Scouting

Editor’s Note: Msgr. John B. Brady is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Washington. He became a Scout in 1942 and has served in the Scouting movement as a youth and an adult for 71 years. He has participated in 15 National Boy Scout Jamborees, two International Jamborees and the fifth All India Jamboree. He has served as Catholic chaplain for the past eight summers at the Goshen Scout Reservation. He is the chaplain for Region 4 of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting. Yesterday he sent this report about this year’s National Boy Scout Jamboree, which began July 15 and is wrapping up this afternoon in West Virginia. Catholic News Service carried this story on the jamboree.

By Msgr. John B. Brady

MOUNT HOPE, W.Va. — Each morning I am awakened by Scouts pulling yellow steel carts with black pneumatic tires across the gravel parking area in front of my tent, which I share with another priest, a chaplain from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and an Independent Christian Church chaplain.

Cart pullers take breakfast and dinner to camspite at Scout jamboree. (Photo courtesy Msgr. John B. Brady)

Cart pullers take breakfast and dinner to campsite at Scout jamboree. (Photo courtesy Msgr. John B. Brady)

The carts — all 320 of them — start coming at 4:15 a.m. and continue until the last one is filled by 7:00 a.m., with breakfast and dinner for the 6,511 Scouts and leaders encamped in Sub-Camp D. The cart pullers are our future priests, bishops, and political, civic and community leaders.

Scouts will come here to the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Mount Hope to have adventures of a lifetime like, zip-line challenge courses, kayaking, rock climbing, the ropes, the canopy, bouldering, water reality, mountain boarding, skateboarding, BMX, treks, gaga ball, and dragon boats.

The summit will introduce these new programs to make Scouting more relevant and meet the needs of the present generation of Scouts. The Scouts are excited and want to come back. During the 10-week camping season of 2014, 25,000 Scouts will come for High Adventure, which will eventually grow to 50,000.

In 2015, summer camp will begin and eventually accommodate another 50,000 Scouts in addition to the High Adventure Scouts, for a total of 100,000 each summer. Every four years a national jamboree will be held here. This summer of 2013, 27,125 Scouts and 3,361 of their leaders have come for the 18th National Jamboree and the first ever to be held at the Summit. 6,429 Staff have come to work long hours of sleep-deprived days to help the Scouts. We are a community of 36,915 Scouts and Scouters sleeping under canvas for 10 days. Scouts, Scouters, and staff are challenged by choice, beyond their human limits. They do things they always dreamed of doing but thought they could not do.

Why would Scouts come all the way from Costa Rica and then go out for a “Day of Service” in the nearby coal mining community to construct a fence and plant an herb garden for the Whipple Company Store & Museum? Because Scouts take an oath “to help other people at all times,” and the Scouts have a slogan: “Do a good turn daily.”

Six thousand Scouts are bused out of the Jamboree each day to help nonprofits in nearby West Virginia communities. Why is it that over 90 percent of Scouts and Scouters attend religious services at Jamborees and less than 25 percent of the populations at home attend church, synagogue, temple or mosque? Because Scouts take an oath to do their duty to God and they take a pledge: “A Scout is reverent.”

I asked 18-year-old Sean Cutler from Sacred Heart Catholic Parish in Medford, Ore., a member of Explorer Post 151, Crater Lake Council, how he liked serving on the medical staff.

Cutler said, “There are no words that can describe this Summit Jamboree experience. Awesome, fantastic, euphoria, fantabulous, splendiferous don’t even come close.”

“Why would you pay $1,000 to come here to work for 10 days?” I asked. He replied: “My father is a phlebotomist. I have been around medicine all my life. I want to become a doctor but I don’t know what kind. Where else could an 18 year old work with all kinds of doctors, do patient care, Triage — check all vital signs, take blood pressure, SPO2 levels, pulse, heart rates, temperatures, height and weight? There are 47 Scouters on the medical staff in Sub-Camp D.  We have EMTs, RNs, PAs, and NPs. We have 10 kinds of doctors including a cardiologist, podiatrist, urologist, and nephrologists. Working with this outstanding medical staff will determine the direction of my entire life.”

At session on rosary making, Ed Martin, national chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting instructs Stephen Kiss of Troop 461, from St. Jane Frances de Chantel Parish in Washington Archdiocese. (Photo courtesy of Msgr. John B. Brady)

At session on rosary making, Ed Martin, national chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting instructs Stephen Kiss of Troop 461, from St. Jane Frances de Chantel Parish in Washington Archdiocese. (Photo courtesy of Msgr. John B. Brady)

The National Catholic Committee on Scouting set up the religious activity of rosary making. Ed Martin, chairman of the NCCS was advised against offering rosary making because the Scouts would not come. To his amazement, they are waiting in line for their 30-minute to one-hour instruction. 4,500 Scouts did not list a religious preference on their medical form. They are searching; they are making rosaries and learning to say the rosary — Scouts of many faiths. They are taught to say the Hail Mary and the Our Father as they string each bead, and they are awarded a “Pray the Rosary Patch,” if they learn the mysteries and know how to say the rosary by the time their turn is over.

Father Michael Hanifin, NCCS national chaplain, recruited 10 Catholic priests, one seminarian, and two deacons to be among the 105 Jamboree chaplains representing over 25 faith communities. Chaplains have many opportunities to help Scouts and Scouters.  Daily Mass in the sub-camps and headquarters areas, the arena Mass with a congregation of 10,000, visiting the sick in the medical tents and hospitals, counseling the homesick and depressed, helping Scouts discern their vocations and commit themselves to their life’s work.

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va., preaches from a special podium created for Scout jamboree Mass. (Photo courtesy of Edward Bronson, Boy Scouts of America)

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va., preaches from a special podium created for Scout jamboree Mass. (Photo courtesy of Edward Bronson, Boy Scouts of America)

This is my 15th National Jamboree where I have seen Scouting at its best. When I walk along the gravel roads of the Summit I hear Scouts say, “I didn’t think that Scouting could be this good. … Never dreamed that I could have this much fun.”

Every bishop, every diocese, every pastor, every parish, every Scouter and every parent will have their own opinions of Scouting but, Jamborees are youth ministry at its best. Jamborees are awesome.

Scouting is present in 160 nations. As of June 30, 2013, we have 2,016,937 youth members and 929,696 volunteer Scouters. or a total membership in the United States of 2,946,633.

Scouting is one of the world’s largest and best youth movements to help young people discern their calling, their vocations, their life’s work, and to transform boys and girls into men and women of character and integrity. We must not abandon the cart pullers as the destiny of our world will soon be in their hands.

Last-minute preparations for pope’s visit at several sites

Backstage, literally, at Campo Fidei. (CNS/Cindy Wooden)

Backstage, literally, at Campo Fidei. (CNS/Cindy Wooden)

RIO DE JANEIRO — For media traveling with the resting Pope Francis, today was site visit day.

Despite sometimes heavy rain, hundreds of workers were busy putting the almost-final touches on facilities at Guaratiba, re-baptized Campo Fidei. The field is where the pope’s vigil with young people will be held Saturday night and where he’ll celebrate Mass with them Sunday morning.

Owners of a tiny shop in Varginha, the favela the pope will visit Thursday, are selling papal visit T-shirts and at least one enterprising resident — Carlos, according to the sign in his window — is renting out rooms to people who want to be a resident-for-a-day.tshirts

Up at the St. Francis of Assisi Hospital, the Franciscan friars and sisters were out in the pouring rain raking up leaves, sweeping sidewalks and decorating the chapel in preparation for the pope’s visit tomorrow afternoon.

Here are few more details:

– Duda Magalhaes, CEO of Dream Factory, the event planning company overseeing work at Campo Fidei, said the work is right on schedule. He said the rain isn’t a problem because it’s winter in Rio and everyone knew there was a good chance it would rain. But, like everyone else, he is hoping forecasters are right and the rain ends Thursday or Friday.

The field is 32 miles from the center of Rio. Magalhaes said every site considered was a good distance from town because they needed a big open space. Copacabana beach is being used for the WYD opening tonight, for the welcoming ceremony with the pope Thursday and for the Via Crucis Friday. But, he said, you can’t have hundreds of thousands of young people sleeping on a beach in the middle of town, so that ruled out using the beach for the vigil. Magalhaes is planning to accommodate up to 900,000 overnight campers at Campo Fidei, providing them with restrooms, water and food under the watchful eyes of the Brazilian military … in addition to the group chaperones.

He said the field easily can handle 1.5 million people for Mass; while some have spoken of a possibility of 2 million or more showing up, Magalhaes said studying other papal Masses seems to indicate that when so many people already will have seen the pope at events in Rio, a super huge attendance is unlikely. Plus, there’s the fact that anyone wanting to go will have to walk at least 5 miles from the bus drop off point.

Father Marcio

Father Marcio

– Father Marcio Oliveira de Queiroz, pastor of the parish that includes the Church of St. Jerome in Varginha, said the pope’s visit is “one of the most important moments this community has ever experienced. It’s almost unthinkable that the pope would come here.”

A year ago, the favela underwent what the government calls “pacification,” a major effort that begins with a massive police operation to rid the shantytown of drugs, drug lords and weapons, and includes bringing running water and electricity to all the homes.

Father Oliveira de Queiroz has been pastor for five years. He said his parishioners used to have to think twice before leaving home, even to go to Mass. And they were never sure they would get back home safely either. Asked what things were like, he told us to picture a big open air fruit and vegetable market, “then change the produce to guns and drugs.”

Brothers and sisters at St. Francis of Assisi Hospital.

Brothers and sisters at St. Francis of Assisi Hospital.

– Franciscan Brother Francisco Belotti is the director of the St. Francis Assisi Hospital complex, which includes departments like cardiology found at any major hospital in any big city, but it also includes a very large facility to assist recovering drug addicts, which will be the focus of the pope’s visit. “Coming here, Pope Francis is telling them that they have value, that they are loved,” he said. The visit is another sign that “the pope chose Francis not just as a name, but as a plan,” a signal of how he intended to focus on the poor through his ministry.

Video: WYD pilgrims visit Marian shrine

A look at the site of Pope Francis’ first public liturgy for WYD 2013, the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, the world’s largest Marian shrine.

Video: Crowds swarm Pope Francis in Rio

A look at Pope Francis’ welcome to the city of Rio de Janeiro.


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