Yesterday at 10 pm I received a message saying that we would have a training session on simultaneous translation early in the morning downtown, at the WYD Volunteers Headquarters. I got up early and was there on time. After waiting 15 minutes, no one showed up. I realized something was wrong. I called my “boss” and found out that the session was canceled, the training would happen the following day (I did not checked my email that morning before leaving home). I offered that sacrifice for the pilgrims who are arriving (it is like going from Thornwood to Manhattan and finding out that you did not need to be there – for those that have been in Thornwood…). There are 60,000 volunteers and 1.5 million pilgrims, and I am just a little grain of wheat. During this week I saw people that did sacrifices much greater than this one, so I really cannot complain.
God is good! When we are open to His grace, everything has a meaning. He makes all things new, and brings good things out of bad things. As I was heading back home I saw three bishops at a bus stop (they were not dressed clerical shirts, but their pectoral crosses gave them away). They were from Peru and were looking for a bus to get their homes. I was so amaze; it is not every day you meet three bishops in a bus station. So, I helped them to find their bus and they were really grateful. That was one of those magical WYD moments. I had a 10-minute conversation with them as we waited the bus, and probably never will see them again in my life. Nevertheless, it was as if we had been friends from way back. We are all united in Jesus.
Another nice experience that came out of the canceled meeting was to have Sunday mass in St Joseph Church where they keep the “Secret of Rio”. A few days ago I was visiting another Church and a lady said “There is a Church a few blocks away where they keep a secret… that will be a surprise for you, you got to go there”. So, today I attended Mass at St Joseph, and after Mass the priest invited everyone to process towards the hidden location where they keep the Secret (I guess this is a tradition). So, I saw the Secret. And it really surprised m; I never saw anything like that, and never thought of it. I said a prayer in front of the Secret, and felt very close to God. I took pictures also, but I cannot show it to you. The priest emphatically told us not to mention the Secret to anyone, so I will not mention it here nor show the photos. If you want to find out, you will need to visit St Joseph’s Church in Rio.
As I was riding the bus on my way home, I could see pilgrims everywhere. They completely took over Rio! The city is more colorful, joyful, youthful, and alive. World Youth Day is such a great sign of the mystery of Church. I cannot think of any other group in this planet that could gather so many young people, from all kinds of social background, languages, culture, all united in the faith of Jesus Christ. We are so blessed by being Catholics. Archbishop Orani was right. The pilgrims and volunteers of WYD make the “marvelous city” even more marvelous.