From 23 to 28 July the World Youth Day took place in Rio de Janeiro.  Without a doubt it was a spectacular event that took the church and the world by surprise.
Fr James Shekelton, who is working at St Marie’s Cathedral, attended and accompanied his brother Fr Peter, who brought 28 young people from Barcelos in the Amazon Region where he works (pictured above).
A few months ago Fr James organised a sponsored bike ride to raise funds to help some of these young people attend the World Youth Day.  Together with over 3.5 million young people from all over the world they were accompanied by Pope Francis in many different activities during the week.
As the modern world reaches the indigenous regions which were once far from modern civilisation, the young people are becoming more and more victims of crime, violence and prostitution.  Fr Peter’s work as a missionary in the Amazon region helps them discover the gift of life, grow in the faith and discover new opportunities.
During his homily at the final Mass on Copacabana beach, Pope Francis said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.  With these words, Jesus is speaking to each one of us, saying, “It was wonderful to take part in World Youth Day, to live the faith together with young people from the four corners of the earth, but now you must go, now you must pass on this experience to others.”  Jesus is calling you to be a disciple with a mission!  Today, in the light of the word of God that we have heard, what is the Lord saying to us?  Three simple ideas: go, do not be afraid and serve.”
Fr James says, “Thank you once again to all those who supported the cause and made the trip possible for these young people!”