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July 21st in World Youth Day by .

World Youth Day 2013 – Day 1 – An important Word

Suzanne Haugh will be blogging about the WYD pilgrimage and Goodness Reigns FIlm Festival in RIo de Janeiro. She is journeying with filmmakers Gabe Castillo, Carlos Tobon, Peggy Stanton and Bina Crowley at this Catholic event hosted by Pope Francis and expected to attract 2 million people from all over the world!

Suzanne Haugh directs the charitable non-profit Goodness Reigns, Inc. and has worked as a Catholic journalist for over 13 years. She lives in Louisville, KY, with her husband of 20 years and their three children.

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Obrigado (“Thank you”) is my first word in Portuguese and it is fitting given the the situations we have found ourselves in on the first part of our World Youth Day pilgrimage.

Our first challenge arrived in a text from Gabe–”My flight has been delayed to 7:05 and I most likely won’t make it … and there’s only one flight to Rio per day on Delta.”

This text set off a chain of events that fortunately has a very happy ending with Gabe arriving late but on the plane only because a group of 21 from Orlando, FL, was also late. Obrigado!

plane window rioMoments before we were to touch down in Rio, as we got our first look at the ocean-front city, the plane began to ascend due to the presence of another plane that had not yet cleared the runway. Because we had to take another loop around the city we beheld beautiful vistas of a city nestled among gumdrop mountains and hills on a sunny morning. Obrigando!

Customs was relatively easy with overweight suitcases. Obrigado!

Gabe lionWithout a Rio travel book and a map (left on the plane), Gabe and I set off to find the place for picking up our WYD backpacks that would have our transportation and meal tickets. With the help of numerous WYD volunteers and people WITH backpacks, we eventually found the location AND short lines! Tomorrow will be different as growing numbers of people are expected to begin to descend on the city. Obrigado!

backpack place Buoyed by our luck–rather the “Hail Mary’s” and Memorares prayed for guidance–at finding and obtaining our pilgrim backpacks, Gabe and I thought we would try finding the press office to pick up our press passes in the vicinity of the Copacabana. This would require further maneuvering on the Metro. While we didn’t find the office, we enjoyed the ocean views and the people watching while not being run over by speeding taxis. Obrigado!


Not having too much food today, we stopped at a street-side “soda”. I had a pastel de forno y fango (cheese and chicken) and some type of refresco – I’m not sure of the fruit. Obrigando!


SMH - copacabana

Finally, throughout the day we realized that it was Sunday, God’s day, and while we experienced God in his creation, in his people and in his providence, we thought He would understand why we did not make mass. Fortunately, a wrong turn as we headed to our hotel landed us in front of a small church, almost a chapel nestled snugly between lean buildings of condos and apartments. Yes! Mass! A perfect day to end our first day. Obrigado!

little chapel rioAnd with the Gospel reading of Mary and Martha–one of my constant reminders that seeking Christ’s presence to Jesus and  a relationship with him is “the better choice,” I smiled (the one who can often be more Martha than Mary)  knowing that the journey to Rio, with its inconveniences and costs illustrates Mary’s choice. Obrigado!

3 comments on “World Youth Day 2013 – Day 1 – An important Word

  1. GRdirector on said:

    Glad you found your volleyball and that Patrick taught you how to properly kick the soccer ball, Tweetie! Kabobs sound good–I’m hungry thinking of them. Love you. WIll blog more. Many late nights! Give averyone a hug and a kiss-kiss from me!

  2. GRdirector on said:

    “THank you” Good question, Will add that!

  3. E Haugh on said:

    So what does Obrigando mean. I sent you 3 emails describing my days. BTW we herd the same reading. I can give you a little recap of my days. So the rest of Saturday we went to the play. It was really good considering the ages were 15-20. Sunday was pretty eventful I guess. So in the morning we watch some golf. Phil won the US open. So later I am exited because I finally learned how to kick the soccer ball right. Then we went to running club the were some people from St. Raphael’s and so we did the Tebone Trail. Then since that didn’t take to long we did Seneca. BTW there was a little thunder by then. When I finished it was raining pretty hard and then it was thunder loudly. So dad came a little later and the funny thing is there was some blue sky and the sun was out. Oh! and the Us beat someone in the Golden Cup. So were going the the semi-finals. Dad made kaababs. There tided with yours. Oh! and i almost fergot to tell you …. I… FOUND my volleyball. Erin

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