Despite repression, Cuban youth celebrate WYD in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 24, 2013 / 04:50 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A group of young pilgrims from Cuba have arrived in Brazil to celebrate the 28th World Youth Day despite initial restrictions from their government.

“We have come to take part in World Youth day; to be part of this great manifestation of the Church and what always happens is that (reporters) end up bringing politics into everything,” one pilgrim who wished to remain anonymous told CNA July 24.

 “We are not allowed to talk,” one of the other members of the group said, explaining that the group decided not to make public statements to the media.

Although young people from Cuba have been allowed to leave the country to attend previous World Youth Days, this delegation faced difficulty in leaving the country.

One member of the group, they said, was initially barred from leaving Cuba until a bishop intervened. Government officials eventually gave in and allowed the pilgrim to travel to Brazil.

“The Church has brought us here,” one girl explained. “A bishop called and because of that we are here.”

So far, catching a glimpse of Pope Francis has been one of the biggest highlights of the pilgrimage.

“Seeing the Pope was so awesome,” the girl said. “We hope to see him more.”

The entire group agreed that it was a blessing to be among the few people, only 54 in their delegation, to have been able to attend World Youth Day in person.

They hope to bring their experience back to the young people in Cuba who were not allowed to attend the pilgrimage.

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