Experts say WYD crowd in Rio was not even half as big as reported

Details:  If measured in spirit, there is hardly a soul who would question the success of Pope Francis’ Mass on giant Copacabana beach last weekend. The count when it comes to the flesh-and-blood numbers of faithful who actually attended is an entirely different matter. The Vatican said an historic 3.7 million people were at the [Read More...]

Worth a Thousand Words

After returning to Rome from Rio, Pope Francis decided to stop at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major to offer a brief prayer to the Blessed Virgin for World Youth Day. A group of young people offered him a WYD T-shirt and a ball. Pope Francis later offered the gifts to our Blessed Mother. [Read more...]

“Amazing”: Serving as Lector Before Three Million at WYD

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 [Read More...]

From the UK on WYD: “Pilgrims from Brooklyn Can Be Proud of Their Bishop!”

That’s the excited headline on a blog post sent to me from a reader, who spotted in on a web page for World Youth Day pilgrims from the United Kingdom.  The writer is referring to Bishop Frank Caggiano.  The post:  Today’s catechesis by Bishop Frank Caggiano from Diocese of Brooklyn, NY was interrupted several times… [Read More...]

Pope Francis: “We Need a Church Capable of Warming Hearts”

This is simply beautiful:  Francis was addressing the Brazilian Church but today’s lunch with the region’s cardinals and bishops in Rio’s Archbishopric was much more than this. The Pope laid out a plan for his pontificate. He presented the image of a Church which walks beside its faithful in order to be truly missionary and [Read More...]

What’s the Media Saying About the Pope in Rio?

Vatican Radio’s Sean Patrick Lovett has the answer:  One thing that really stands out in headlines across the media spectrum, is how the Argentine Pope is conquering everybody – even the Brazilians (!) – with his warm and simple attitude and with the direct way he uses words… Both local Rio papers, O Globo and [Read More...]

Pope to Argentine Pilgrims: “I Want a Mess!”

Details:  Pope Francis has shown the world his rebellious side, urging young Catholics to shake up the church and make a “mess” in their dioceses by going out into the streets to spread the faith. It’s a message he put into practice by visiting one of Rio’s most violent slums and opening the church’s World [Read More...]

For World Youth Day, Pope Francis Will Visit Where his Pontificate Really Began

A fascinating insight, via Vatican Insider:  The Church needs to “rid itself from all expired structures that do not favour the transmission of the faith.” This is what point 365 in the concluding document of the last general assembly of Latin American bishops at Aparecida, Brazil’s most important Marian shrine. The meeting set in stone [Read More...]

Catechists Announced for World Youth Day—Including a Bishop from Brooklyn

To the surprise of no one east of the Hudson, it’s Auxiliary Bishop Frank Caggiano (whom I first knew as plain old “Father Frank” a decade or so ago, when he was the director of my diocese’s diaconate program and I was a wide-eyed aspirant.) Details:  During World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, more [Read More...]

“Dear friends, open your eyes and look around you…”

On Friday the Vatican published Pope Benedict XVI’s much anticipated message to young people as they begin the countdown to World Youth Day celebrations in Brazil, July 2013.  A snip: Dear friends, open your eyes and look around you. So many young people no longer see any meaning in their lives. Go forth! Christ needs [Read More...]