The countdown is on…brazil, here we come!

The countdown is on...brazil, here we come!

"Brazil is a country of contrasts – dream and nightmare at the same time. Sky-blue coastlines and soft beaches, fascinating colonial cities and rugged landscapes, untouched rainforests and dense jungles have enchanted visitors for decades. After just a short stay, the brazilian way of life – O jeito brasileiro – casts its spell on everyone."
(lonely planet "south america for little money")

we are 30 young people from the dioceses of bamberg and eichstatt, who will travel from the 16th to the 20th century. Until 31. July we will fly to the world youth day in rio de janeiro. The trip is organized by the BDKJ (bund der deutschen katholischen jugend) and the archbishop’s youth office in bamberg. In order to keep everyone at home up to date and to experience a little bit of the world youth day feeling, we will regularly publish photos here in the next few weeks and of course report on our experiences and impressions.

Actually it could start immediately. The last gifts (brazilians told us that we should bring nivea products if we want to make our hosts happy) are bought, the vaccinations are done, the preparation seminar is over, the most important words in portuguese are learned and the backpacks are packed (well, at least most of them). Among other things, we will pack our world youth day straw hat, the sign of recognition of the german pilgrims in rio, a "prayer box" with rosary, cross and holy water in miniature, and of course a lot of excitement and anticipation for what will await us in brazil.

Our plane leaves tomorrow evening from frankfurt, where all participants will meet for the first time. There will be plenty of time to get to know each other. After all, the flight lasts 12 hours. We landed in sao paulo at 5 a.M. Local time, ready to fly. From there we went on to sao luis in the northeast of brazil. There we will celebrate the so-called "days of encounter", the days leading up to the actual world youth day will be spent in the diozese of coroata. Not only will we have the opportunity to visit various projects and experience local community life firsthand, but we will also have the opportunity to visit the local church.

Since we live with host families, we get a direct insight into everyday life in brazil. At the end of the stay, there is a festival in coroata for all the participants of the world youth day who are accommodated in the diocese. Each group should present itself and its home country. With dirndl, lederhosen, mabkrugen and the rehearsed airmen’s song, we are naturally well prepared for the occasion.

After almost a week in the northeast of the country we will continue to rio de janeiro. The world youth day will start on 23. July with a rough opening service at the copacabana. The world youth day has its origin in an initiative of pope john paul II. This invited to the "international jubilee of youth" in 1984 to rome. A year later, he declared that world youth days should now take place on a regular basis.

Since then, there has been an international world youth day every two to three years, where young people between 15 and 30 years of age from all over the world come together. In rio, we are accommodated in a school together with all the other pilgrims from bavarian dioceses. Every morning there will be catechesis with german bishops. The program also includes visits to various youth projects in cooperation with the episcopal aid organizations adveniat and misereor. Highlight of the world youth day is the rough closing service with pope franciscus.

This will take place outside of rio de janeiro, so we will first have to travel by bus and then walk more than 13 kilometers to fub. A total of 4 million people are expected to attend the service – actually unimaginable! After the world youth day we will stay two more days in brazil, during which we will visit the city of petropolis and of course the christus dome and the sugar loaf. Hopefully the other pilgrims do not all have the same idea as we do! On 31. July we will return to germany, where we are expected to arrive on 01. August will land in frankfurt in the early afternoon.

So these are our plans for the next two weeks. Whether the time in brazil will actually be as we imagine, we will see. We are open to whatever comes our way and look forward to many new encounters and experiences. And of course we are happy about all readers, with whom we can share our experiences here!

Ate breve!

By ann-kathrin thonnes