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A journey of the heart for pilgrims
Rio joy: Sarah de Byl with fellow pilgrims on Copacabana Beach during World Youth Day 2013.

A journey of the heart for pilgrims

TOOWOOMBA diocese’s youth ministry co-ordinator Sarah de Byl has spoken of “spiritual highlights” as a World Youth Day pilgrim in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
These included “Mass, Adoration, Reconciliation and morning prayer,” she said.
“There were also animation activities with Steve Angrisano and Curtis Stephens, catechesis from Cardinal Timothy Dolan (New York) and Archbishop Mark Coleridge (Brisbane), recitation of the rosary in many languages, fellowship, spiritual direction, a vocations expo and singing of hymns.”
She said “the fact that we were able to do this all in union with our inspirational Holy Father was a real blessing”.
Other highlights of the pilgrimage included visiting Chile and experiencing Santiago, seeing Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf, Brazilian barbecues, travelling on the Metro, experiencing the San Sebastian Cathedral, the Australian gathering and dancing on Copacabana Beach with pilgrims from around the world.
“Then there was my time spent with the Columbans and their mission work in Chile, the Chilean parishioners that soon became family and were hard to leave behind, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd who accommodated us, and the enthusiasm of the Brazilian young people who greeted us and embraced us with open arms like that of the Redeemer,” she said.
“There was the sincerity of the young people I met during catechesis struggling with many questions of how to be Catholic and faithful in a complex world but full of confidence and joy in being Catholic with their deep desire to meet Christ and follow him.”
Sarah was inspired by the papal welcome to World Youth Day.
“Pope Francis told the teens and young adults that Jesus was asking each person gathered on the beach: ‘Do you want to be my disciple? Do you want to be my friend? Do you want to be a witness to my Gospel?’ she said.
“Faith, he said, is a ‘Copernican revolution’, an operation that shifts concerns and priorities so that they revolve around Jesus and not the individual or false idols.
“Pope Francis asked that young people think about a meal and what it means to ‘put on salt’. “Then he told them, ‘Put on faith and your life will take on a new flavour’.”
Sarah said she left Australia for Rio in the hope of reconnecting with the universal Church.
“Being my third WYD I am always amazed by the change in me and the deepening of my faith each time,” she said.  
“The pilgrimage was both physical and spiritual and was a journey of the heart.  
“I know that it has touched me deeply and will continue to impact the work I do within youth ministry in the future.”

Written by: Staff writers
Catholic Church Insurance

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