A teenager from the U.S. at World Youth Day tells all:
The young woman who proclaimed a Scripture reading at the Papal Mass at World Youth Day said that it was an unforgettable experience that enabled her to encounter the Church in a unique way.
“It was amazing to look out and see more than three million people, and to think that this is all due to 12 men who said ‘yes’ to God’s call 2,000 years ago,” said 19-year-old Katherine Bauman, a native of Denver, Colo.
Bauman, who is studying theology, education and classical languages at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., proclaimed the first reading at the World Youth Day Closing Mass with Pope Francis on Copacabana Beach.
The July 28 Mass, which was moved from its original location in western Rio de Janeiro due to heavy rains, drew an estimated 3.2 million people.
Looking out over a massive sea of pilgrims from around the world, Bauman was amazed.
“It was an incredible experience,” she told CNA. “It expanded my perception of the diversity and the richness of our Church…all the different cultures gathered together.”
“Having this experience in a Latin American country, with a Latin American Pope, returning here for the first time – it’s so powerful,” she continued. “It showed me that I’m part of something a lot bigger than just me.”
In early June, Bauman got a phone call inviting her to read at the Mass. She was completely shocked, and it took her a while to process the fact that she would be reading in front of several million people and Pope Francis.
As the event drew closer, she became “a bit nervous” about speaking in front of so many people. But the nervousness was replaced with excitement when she got up on the altar.
“I was just so immersed in the moment,” she said, adding that “it’s really not about me anyway.”