Brazil has been a fascinating experience: in spite of being Portuguese and speaking the same language as the locals, there is a cultural difference. I arrived in Rio a week ago and right away I could feel the energy of the people, who are always ready to help you.
The first Mass I attended on Brazilian soil was an eye-opening experience. I had the sensation of a Church which is alive and pulsing, a Church in love with Christ and wanting to share this love with the millions of young people who are coming to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day.
On the weekend when many dioceses around the world celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi I got to really see the Brazilian celebration of Christ present in the Eucharist.
I walked Chile Avenue in the downtown core of Rio and saw a huge coloured carpet, featuring traditional Catholic motifs. I thought, “how big is the Brazlians’ love for Christ! They even prepared a welcoming carpet, not a red one, but one of many colors to symbolize the diversity of the people of the city and of God.”
Rio is a naturally beautiful city, but also made beautiful by the warm, welcoming embrace of the people who live here. From the person who smiles at you in the supermarket check out, to the person who comes to greet you in your pew at the parish because she realizes you are a new face.
This wonderful city, as Rio de Janeiro is known as around the world, will welcome millions of young people from the four corners of the globe. Cariocas, as Rio’s residents are called, look forward to it because they know they have a lot of joy to give, and a lot of love and friendship to receive.
It is interesting that the first pope from the Americas will make his first apostolic voyage to South America and to the biggest Catholic country in the world. Everyone, not just young people, are curious to know what Pope Francis will do and say.
Rio de Janeiro is already dancing with excitement as it awaits the millions of young people who will come from around the world to take part in unrolling that same colored carpet to welcome the Joy of Christ into their hearts.
This post came to us from our Associate Producer Carlos Ferreira who is Rio de Janeiro preparing S+L's coverage of WYD Rio 2013