Six parishioners from St. Anthony in Oakley at The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
East Bay youths share World Youth Day experiences
Six members from St. Anthony Parish in Oakley attended the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, July 23-28, Lizette and Julio Suarez, three youths, Gabriella Mota, and two brothers, Feliciano "Chano" and Ernesto "Ernie" Castaneda, and the parish's parochial vicar, Rev. Kenneth Sales. Two participants shared their experience:
Lizette Suarez, youth coordinator for St. Anthony's for Spanish youth group:
God really spoiled us in our trip. … We were blessed to work with many well-known Catholic artists and bishops, among them Bishop Chaput from Philadelphia, and Bishop Burns from Juneau, Alaska. We also met Catholic artists Danielle Rose, Jesse Manibusan, Jacob and Matthew band, as well as Matt Maher. Father Ken was also one of the chosen priests to attend a special Mass with the pope, where only religious and clergy assisted.
Though it was a journey, we were blessed with having time to enjoy one of the wonders of the world, The Christ Redeemer statue. It was a hot, sunny day, with multitudes of people, but it was worth it. While we were up there, there was a band playing praise and worship and everyone prayed in their native tongue.
What stayed most with me and in my heart are the words of our Holy Father: "Go, do not be afraid, and serve." With his way of living he expresses true Christianity. He led us as pilgrims at World Youth Day, and gave us the words necessary to know what it is Christ asks of his youth for His Church. Me, you, us, we are all called to serve each other — even those who cause us discomfort, because in that action, the most blessing arises. After the trip I feel I have been called to look at my life and analyze who, what and why am I serving. Am I doing what Jesus asks for me as a member of his body, of His Church. Jesus asks me for more and I can not be afraid to give it to Him.
Gabriella Mota, St. Anthony parishioner:
I went simply because I wanted a deeper relationship with God and I felt this was the right opportunity to do so. It was so nice to see so many people in one place all there for the same reason, and know that you all believe in the same thing. It also felt so nice when the pope decided to give communion to the millions of people on the beach. I believe that it is very important the people who went to World Youth Day keep sharing our experience so that other youth will be open to getting closer to God and want to go to the next World Youth Day in Poland in 2016.
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