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Reflections from World Youth Day 2013

August 9, 2013

By Roslyn B., Sister of Mercy Novice in Guyana

Roslyn, pictured with a Guyana flag, at World Youth Day 2013

Roslyn, pictured with a Guyana flag, at World Youth Day 2013

God has truly blessed me with the privilege of allowing me to attend my first World Youth Day (WYD) in Rio De Janero, Brasil. Twenty seven pilgrims, including our Bishop Francis Alleyne, left Guyana for a two-day journey to Rio.

Several weeks prior to leaving Guyana, our group of young people met for lectio divina, faith-sharing and fun. It was a time of deepening our relationship with God and each other. By the time we began our pilgrimage, we were very excited to see Brasil and meet Pope Francis but also our minds and hearts were open to encountering God in a new way.

Guyana has a small population so I was totally amazed by the number of young people as well as older adults attending the event. It was such a joy to meet and share life with people from various countries, cultures and languages. I was overwhelmed by the diversity among us, yet felt the unity of one faith. It did not matter whether you were red, white or green, we all shared one great faith. There was a strong sense of the presence of God among us. I converted to Catholicism in 2008; therefore I am new to being Catholic. The experience gave a sense of rootedness and connection with the universal Church.

The catechesis sessions were very rich and challenging. We addressed the needs of our world and how we as young people could respond to these needs. In looking at the theme, “Go and Make Disciples of all Nations”, what stayed with me throughout my stay in Brasil was the call to encourage each other to unite and remain faithful to ourselves as well as to God – even if it means being criticized and attacked. Listening to the Word each day and the passion with which it was read moved me to want to respond to the Gospel with courage and at the same time remain non-violent.

I did not expect to be so touched and excited about being in the presence of Pope Francis. But as I stood among the crowd waiting for him to pass by, I was caught up in the excitement of those around me and I thought to myself, “Am I really here and is it really the Pope I am looking at? When he walked on to the stage to celebrate Mass, I was moved to tears.

Other highlights of the week for me were: the beauty of Brasil; the warmth of the people; the quiet and profound experience of God in the vigil; and the moving and joyous celebration of the Liturgy. It was truly a sense of Communion and Community.

As I move towards my first profession of vows in September, I feel renewed and ready to make my commitment to God and to the Sisters of Mercy.  I feel ready to live the Gospel and to “go and make disciples of all nations.” But more so, I feel a strong sense of God saying to me, “I am with you always.”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sheila Stevenson, RSM permalink
    August 9, 2013 3:10 pm

    Thanks, Roslyn, for your reflection on what must have been a very profound experience. I am so glad you had the opportunity to be part of this special event.
    Prayers for you as you prepare to profess your vows in Mercy.
    Peace and all Good!

  2. August 12, 2013 7:42 pm

    ROSLYN, you certainly seem full of God’s Divine Spirit MAY THIS SPIRIT FILL YOUR HEART IN THE DAYS TO COME WHEN YOU PROFESS YOUR 1ST VOWS AS A SISTER OF MERCY.MAY YOUR LIFE BE FULL OF GOD’S SPECIAL GRACES & BLESSINGS FOR WHAT LIES AHEAD. I THINK BACK TO MY 1ST VOWS !/2 A CENTURY AGO THEN & NOW THE WONDEROUS GRACES & OPPORTUNITIES FILL ME WITH GRATITUDE FOR ALL THE WONDERS THAT SPAN THOSE YEARS! ! ! OUR FAITHFUL GOD HAS WONDERS SAVED FOR YOU, ENJOY THEM ALL& OFTEN REVIEW THEM IN YOUR JOURNAL. THESE ARE TREASURES TO KEEP &; ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL FOR, EVEN THE HARD ONES, NEVER FEAR OUR FAITHFUL GOD IS ALWAYS WITH YOU & NO MATTER WHAT HE HAS CHOSEN YOU IN LOVE & IS ALWAYS IN YOU, WITH YOU NOW & FOREVER!!! LOVE.SR M. AMELIE HAWXHURST, WAY DOWN IN ARKANSAS!!!

  3. Mary ann clarahan permalink
    August 16, 2013 11:09 am

    Roslyn, your vivid description of WYD in Rio was truly beautiful and inspiring. You made your reader feel as though we were right there with you. I’m so glad that this faith experience of being in communion with the universal Church has been part of your preparation for first profession. Our prayers will be with you, our sister, as you profess you vows in Mercy in September.

    Mary Ann Clarahan RSM
    Mid-Atlantic Community

  4. Kelly Z permalink
    August 16, 2013 4:48 pm

    Really beautiful! I attended WYD in 2002, and felt very similar. Thank you for sharing your story!

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