Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 29, 2013 / 10:43 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Young global participants in Rio de Janeiro's World Youth Day say that traveling to Krakow, Poland in 2016 for the next event “will be a great challenge,” but that “we’ll be there.”
Arturo Fernandez, from the Diocese of Morón in Argentine, told CNA that young people “will do as much as possible to attend the next World Youth Day. We get together and pray hard to be able to go.”
Being a part of the global youth event in Rio “has been an experience that money cannot buy,” he said. “There are many people who want to be near the Pope and that has touched us greatly. We've been able to hear it, see it, and we have been around him – he always has something to say.”
Pope Francis announced the Polish city as the site of the next World Youth Day at the close of Sunday Mass in Rio on July 28. The event is sure to attract millions.
Blessed Pope John Paul II was Archbishop of Krakow before his election to the papacy. The archdiocese has about 1.5 million Catholics and over 1,100 diocesan priests across 439 parishes, according to the website Catholic Hierarchy.
For Brazilian Manuela Freire, 24, the announcement that the next World Youth Day “was something providential because it is the land of John Paul II. I think all Brazilians who are here will go to Poland to join in that World Youth Day too.”
Despite financial and transportation obstacles for some young people in traveling to Krakow, last week's World Youth Day in Rio has sparked deep enthusiasm among many to participate in 2016's event.
Matias Gonzalez, a 30-year-old Argentine, said that Rio's World Youth Day “has been really impressive. Has been incredible to feel like brothers with people who you have seen for the first time. All this has been a Godsend.”
According to Uruguayan youth Ana Orleits, “Rio de Janeiro has been very good and very interesting. We have been able to see the Pope, and now we will go to Poland where we have new experiences and meet more people.”
Diego Guzman, from Arizona, said that “everything has been good and I've enjoyed everything. This is my first World Youth Day and I will not forget being here.”
For Eduardo Fernandez, a 29-year-old from the town of Caaguazú in Paraguay, “having been in this World Youth Day has been a beautiful experience. I think we have all been changed.”
“When we heard that the next venue will be Poland we began to make our calculations what we need to be able to go and I think we are going to be in Krakow in 2016,” he added.