Nearly 10,000 U.S. Catholics Travel to Rio for World Youth Day

Nearly 10,000 U.S. Catholics Travel to Rio for World Youth Day

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), nearly 10,000 young people from the United States are traveling to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate World Youth Day (WYD) with Pope Francis from July 23-28. United States participants are expected to be the third-largest group in attendance.

Young people representing 650 parishes and diocesan groups will participate in the world’s largest youth event.

On July 24-26, catechesis programs will take place in the mornings in areas around Rio. Programs will include a music group, catechesis by a bishop, and Mass.

The theme of WYD Rio 2013 is “Go, and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

Cardinals Timothy Dolan of New York and Sean O’Malley of Boston and Archbishops Samuel Aquila of Denver and Charles Chaput of Philadelphia will be among the 36 American bishops who will serve as catechists for English-speaking groups.

Pope Francis arrives in Rio July 22nd and joins WYD July 25th at the Papal Welcome Ceremony on Copacabana Beach. He will celebrate WYD’s overnight vigil and closing Mass July 27-28 at Campus Fidei in Guaratiba, an area several miles west of downtown Rio. During the closing Mass, Pope Francis will announce the next WYD host city.

Young people from the United States have been holding car washes, dances, yard sales, and raffles to help raise funds for their pilgrimage to WYD.

Luke DelVecchio was 19 when he attended his first WYD in Rome in 2000. Now 32 and a married father, he will again be leading young pilgrims from the Boston area.

He said the consistent factor in every World Youth Day is the joyful attitude of participants — a joy they bring to the host city’s inhabitants.

“They don’t know this sort of tidal wave of joy is about to hit them,” said DelVecchio.

Father Matt Williams, director of the Office for the New Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults for the Boston Archdiocese, offered guiding words for WYD participants.

He said preparing for pilgrimage “first and foremost is to live the Eucharist intensely — to allow the Lord to take us in his loving hands, to allow him to speak his words of blessing into our hearts, to allow ourselves to be broken from sin and all that takes us away from him, so that we can be free to give ourselves as gift, as the Lord does.”

EWTN will broadcast WYD live from Rio.