The two were not only able to attend the final Mass, but were reunited with their pilgrim group.
“We were just going to leave before the Eucharist because we were cold, and hungry, and knew we wouldn’t get any (Eucharist), so we started to walk away, started to walk home, and 20 metres behind from where we were with our new family was our whole group, that we came over here on our pilgrimage with,” Mr Thomsen said.
“So we stood there and we stood with the bags so they could go and receive the Eucharist.”
The two said the experience not only gave them a new family, but started a friendship between Luke and Steph, who had only met through the pilgrim group.
“I suppose from their point of view, they would have thought that me and Steph were long-term friends, but we’ve only just met, so that whole experience has created an excellent friendship there as well,” Mr Thomsen said.
The two even performed on July 24 during the first day of catechesis and again that afternoon for the Australian Gathering.
Mr Thomsen, who attended World Youth Day in Madrid two years ago, said his time in Rio had been “amazing”. “It’s a lot different and a whole new experience,” he said.
“During the Opening Mass, it was cold, and wet, and it was raining, but it was just excellent.
“We were about three or four big screens back, which is probably about a kilometre or two from where it was happening.
“Comparing it to Madrid, it was so well organised.
“There were these big TVs and big speakers spread out on the beach, so you were still in the atmosphere, but you’re not squashed.”
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