Home arrow Youth Activities arrow World Youth Day 2013
World Youth Day - Rio 2013
Quick Links to Group Activities

Our pilgrims have now returned safely and enjoyed sharing their experiences with the parish at our Cheese and Wine evening on Saturday 7 September.  Below are some reflections from the group.  There are some photos from the pilgrimage within our gallery

  Reflections on our Pilgrimage

On 22nd July, we set off from St Patricks Church to Rio de Janeiro via an 11 hour flight from Heathrow.  Fr Martin Hardy of St. Patricks said Mass before we left, blessing the group and its many adventures over the next eleven days.  There were eleven of us in the group, eight from St Peter’s Parish, two from St Patrick’s Church and one from Holy Rosary Church, Burton on Trent.

   Video Collage of Our Time in Rio
From St Peter's Leicester's YouTube Channel

When we arrived in Rio, we were very tired but were greeted with such a warm welcome from the locals, with lots of food put on for us and lively music to welcome us to their parish.  We were based in a suburb just outside the centre of Rio called Gamboa, in the parish of the Holy Family.  The area was very poor, but the locals were so kind and generous!  The boys of the group were based in the school hall, on hard floors whilst the girls had quite a luxury being based with a family and had the comfort of proper mattresses each night.  The family welcomed each of the group in as one of their own, providing us with coffee and cake at every opportunity.

The first full day in Rio was mainly getting ourselves organised as half of our group went to pick up the pilgrim packs whilst the other half set off to the central cathedral to see what events were going on there.  It was at the cathedral that I first got an idea of the mass scale of World Youth Day, so many flags and so many languages together in such a small area - it was quite overwhelming!

That afternoon, we set off on the first of many trips to Copacabana; this time was for the official opening of WYD with the Archbishop of Rio.  Although we were quite near the back, we managed to soak up the atmosphere and get to know lots of other pilgrims.

The next morning was the first of three mornings of Catechesis.  Our catechesis was based at a leisure centre just down the road from where we were staying and it was where all the Rio carnival floats were kept.  The other groups at catechesis were from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and even a few from England.  Each day was a lively event with singing and dancing but also a time for reflection.  There would be a speaker each day and over three days we heard from Cardinal Napier of Durban, South Africa, Cardinal Dolan of New York and Bishop Mark Williams of Brisbane, Australia.  They spoke to us about discipleship and missionary work and how we lead our lives as young Catholics.

The rest of the afternoons were spent exploring other WYD activities including the vocations park and going to local tourist attractions - one that stood out was The Maracana although it is being renovated so we just stood outside it in the pouring rain!

Thursday brought about the arrival of Pope Francis to WYD so the crowds grew bigger especially amongst the locals.  Going to each event was such an experience - the chanting and the singing meant that we had almost lost our voices by the time the services started.  Pope Francis arrived late because he was totally mobbed on his way in.  When he finally arrived, he was greeted by mass-scale chanting.

Friday brought about the final day of catechesis and a chance to exchange contact details with our new friends.  We then headed straight to Copacabana to beat the crowds for Stations of the Cross that night but everyone seemed to have the same idea so we spent some time at a nearby beach before lining up to catch a glimpse of the Pope (we saw his head!) before listening and watching the display of Stations of the Cross.

Saturday was the day we were meant to be setting off to Campus Fidei for the big Vigil with the Pope but after safety concerns in the International press and wet weather, it was decided that the Vigil would now be taking place at Copacabana beach.  We did have to take a very long walk to collect our weekend food package but the spirit of everyone kept us going and meant that the distance didn’t seem too far at all.  There was a huge scramble to actually get food but half of the group eventually succeeded and we arrived at Copacabana in time for the Pope’s arrival.  There were around 2-3 million people there that night so we didn’t even make it onto the beach, but even though it was packed, it was still an amazing experience.

The next day was the final day of WYD, so after deciding that we weren’t going to set up camp on the beach for the night, we made our way by bus back to the beach.  Many had slept out overnight so were tired but once the music and dancing got going, everyone was in good spirits. Pope Francis spoke to the young people about the topic of WYD ‘Go and make disciples of all nations’ telling us all to follow three simple steps ‘Go, do not be afraid and serve.’ After mass, we had a picnic and chatted to other groups still soaking up the atmosphere.

Over the next few days, the crowds settled down and we were able to visit Christ The Redeemer which was a spectacular day out and it was totally worth the six hours waiting!   We then said our goodbyes to our dear friends in the local parish and in our host families before setting off home to Leicester.

We had such wonderful and moving experiences at WYD, with us all being strengthened in faith and prepared to go and live out the Gospels in our daily lives and not be afraid to serve the Lord.

See you in Krakow, Poland in 2016!!

Mairi-Frances McKay
From St Peter’s Parish in Leicester

Quotes of Pope Francis
World Youth Day, Rio July 2013

Pope Francis"There are no borders, no limits: He sends us to everyone. … Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent.”

"Bringing the Gospel is bringing God's power to pluck up and break down evil and violence, to destroy and overthrow the barriers and selfishness, intolerance and hatred, so as to build a new world.”

"You must not let yourselves be marginalized. Faith in Christ is not a joke. The only sure way is the way of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus.”

"How important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage which is so essential for each and every society!”

"(Jesus is united with all who suffer, including those who) have lost their faith in the church, or even in God, because of the lack of consistency of Christians and ministers of the gospel.”

"Jesus offers us something bigger than the World Cup.”

"Dear young people, let us entrust ourselves to Jesus, let us give ourselves over entirely to him! Only in Christ crucified and risen can we find salvation and redemption. With him, evil, suffering and death do not have the last word, because he gives us hope and life: He has transformed the cross from an instrument of hate, defeat and death into a sign of love, victory and life.”

"Jesus is united with so many young people who have lost faith in political institutions, because they see in them only selfishness and corruption.”

"What do I hope for from World Youth Day? I hope ... that the church takes to the streets, that we defend ourselves from comfort, that we defend ourselves from clericalism.”

From St Peter's and St Patrick's Church, Leicester & Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Burton-on-Trent;  a group of 11 headed off to Brazil on 22 July for the pilgrimage, including 7 people from our own parish: Alisia, Angela, Cleo, Ian, Mairi-Frances, Ruairi and Tom; from St Patrick's: Elvira and Jose; from Our Lady's: Robert.  We were also fortunate to be joined by Fr Neil Peoples who was ordained here at St Peter's on Saturday 6 July.

Over the final months before we travelled, we continued our preparations for the pilgrimage both practically and spiritually.  On the practical side, we held various fundraisers at St Peter's and elsewhere, to help fund the cost for our younger pilgrims (who are all still studying) and raised a total of just over £2,700.  Thank you to all parishioners for their generous support!

Spiritually, we met regularly so that we could consider the theme of the pilgrimage and how we can help 'go and make disciples of all nations!' Matthew, 28, 19)

So What is World Youth Day All About?

Below are a couple of videos showing video clip highlights of previous World Youth Day's (26 Years of World Youth Days, produced in 2011 prior to the last WYD in Madrid) and information from a slide show produced by pilgrims from St Peter's in preparation for the previous WYD in Madrid (What's WYD All About?)  Also, see the Official Hymn of the 2013 World Youth Day below and check out the WYD website for more info.  To see what our pilgrims from our own parish experienced in Madrid in 2011, see www.stpetersleicester.org.uk/wyd2011

   26 Years of World Youth Days    What's WYD All About?
From 2011 Madrid's YouTube Channel From St Peter's Leicester's YouTube Channel

   Official Hymn for Rio 2013    (Click Subtitle's button at bottom to translate)
From Rio 2013's YouTube Channel

  Preparations for the Pilgrimage

Fundraisers and Social Events

To help us on our way we planned the following fundraisers and also social events as a group to get to know each other before we travelled to Rio.  Some of these are mentioned below.  Thank you to everyone who has supported us!

  • Sat 3 & Sun 4 Nov, after all Masses at St Peter's - Cake & Book stall.
  • Sat 10 Nov, 7:30-10:00pm at St Peter's - Quiz Night & Fireworks.
  • Sun 11 Nov, after 10:30am Mass at St Patrick's - Bacon butties & Cheese toasties.
  • Sat 15 & Sun 16 Dec, after Masses at St Patrick's - Cake stall.
  • Sun 10 Feb, after 8:45 & 11:15am Masses at St Peter's - Bacon butties & Cheese toasties.
  • Fri 15 March, 8:00-11:00pm - Ceilidh at St Patrick’s Parish Centre - Malachy Cairns & Band with a caller.
  • Sat 13 & Sun 14 April, after all Masses at St Peter's - Cake stall.
  • Sat 29 June - Parish BBQ (Feast of St Peter and St Paul)
  Spiritual Preparations

From April, we began our spiritual preparations, focussing on meditation in the form of 'Lectio Divina' or 'Spiritual Reading'.

This involves slow deliberate reading of a short passage of scripture a number of times, perhaps read by different people in the group, and allowing it to wash over you, picking out a word or phrase that stands out for you, and listening to what God is saying to you at that moment through the scriptures.

A brief PowerPoint presentation on Lectio Divina can be downloaded here [5MB].

The first passage that we read was from John's Gospel:

John 1:35-39 (New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.”

Contact The Group

You can contact group leaders Angela Bailey or Ian Goodrich by email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Also, check out the World Youth Day Website at rio2013.com/en for further info on all the events that took place.

World Youth Day 2013


The Catholic Faith

The Catholic Faith

Parish Information

Parish Information

Catholic Schools

Nottingham Diocese

Charities We Support