The local organizing committee of WYD Rio 2013 organized a visit of the historic image of Saint Sebastian, patron saint of the City of Rio, to various places in the diocese. In the photo above we see the Archbishop of Rio, João Orani Tempesta leading the processions to what was, until recently, one of the most violent Favelas of Rio “ Morro do Alemão”.
After these series of visits Archbishop Tempesta wrote a letter to encourage people to welcome WYD pilgrims. He said:
I believe this is an opportune time for a major upheaval in our city, which was hurt so many times by historical events and violence, and usually doesn’t trust outsiders. This is a city founded on the Christian traditions of its people. The straw chapel in Praia Vermelha, with the image of St. Sebastian inside, was built in the sixteenth century and marked the beginning of this great metropolis.
St. Sebastian was recognized as a Christian by his behavior and example. Besides being a good soldier in his day, even being promoted, his way of living announced to everyone that he followed Christ as his Lord. Because of this he was martyred in the persecution of Diocletian.
I believe also that we have reached the moment to take this very important step and become the youthful city that welcomes brothers in faith with generosity!
Photo courtesy of WYD Rio 2013