On the eve of his departure for Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis said: “Youth will be taking the leading role during this week”. And this is precisely what is happening! The young people are the protagonists of the extraordinary welcome given to the Pope, of the great joy that fills the “cidade maravilhosa” during these days, of the opening ceremony at Copacabana, of the various events that are taking place in different parts of the city. 500,000 were present at Copacabana, and two million are expected to be present during the week-end.
The young people of the Focolare Movement have been present with their stand at Vocations Fair since Tuesday, July 23. This fair is being held at Quinta Boa Vista in a very large park and it is offering young people the opportunity to encounter and get to know deeper the various ecclesial realities present at WYD. At this fair, the youth of the Focolare are presenting Chiara Luce Badano, the United World Project and Escola Civitas.
They have also set up a tent at Largo da Carioca, at the city centre, from where they are distributing the book “25 minutos: a vida de Chiara luce”, the Portugese edition of the biography of Chiara Luce, written by Franz Coriasco, an agnostic friend of hers. The foundation “Aid to the Church in need” has given its support towards this edition published by Cidade Nova.
“A santidade veste jeans”, a musical about Chiara Luce’s life produced by group of young Brazilians, was held on Wednesday 24 at the Carlos Gomes Theatre. An extra fourth show had to be presented to cater for a number of young people queuing outside the theatre to the see the musical. Maria Teresa and Ruggero Badano, Chiara Luce’s parents, unexpectedly attended this fourth show. They arrived at the theatre to see the show after having taken part in the welcome given to Pope Francis on his visit to St. Francis Hospital. “On stage one could see young people enchanted with the simple and yet extraordinary life of Chiara Luce”, says Rosamari, a Brazilian. “Chiara Luce, a young girl like us, makes it clear that holiness is not something of the past”.
On the same evening, on the other side of the city at the “Riocentro” Conference Centre, the Gen Rosso were presenting their show “Dimensione indelebile” (Indelibile Dimension). And on the 25th, they were at Varginha – in the favela of Manguinho – together with 200 young people following a recovery programme from addiction through art – to animate the festive celebration prepared to welcome the Pope.
July 24 was also the day when young members of the Focolare Movement, together with friends from the Religions for Peace Global Youth Network, were engaged in the organization of the interreligious meeting “Go and build peace in all nations”. These young people were at Estácio de Sá, and from 18.00 to 20.00 they discussed dialogue and various forms of action as part of their common committment to promote peace.
The highlights of this day were the Pope’s visit to Aparecida and to St.FrancisHospital, where he inaugurated a new wing dedicated to integral care. These were occasions where one could see gestures and hear words that touch the heart, penetrate the mind and urge one to follow them. At the end of the day, when the Holy Father spoke to the young people gathered at “Casa Italia”, he gave them a message that could be addressed to everyone. He told them: “Trust Christ, listen to him, follow his footsteps. He never abandons us, not even in the darkest moments of our life. He is our hope. Tomorrow at Capocabana, we will go deeper into this truth, which brightens our life. See you tomorrow!”
Updated on July 26, 2013
BF – LH