• Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times


 “World Youth Day was such an amazing experience and I’m so glad I got to share it with all these beautiful people! My heart will never be the same,” said Annamaria Ortiz, a pilgrim from Sacred Heart, Rancho Cucamonga. 

 The Diocesan pilgrims left the United States in groups beginning July 15. One group left the United States early to go on a preplanned trip to Peru. The rest of the pilgrims left on July 17 and met with the other members of the Diocese to participate in the Mission Week in the Diocese of Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

 Approximately 30 parishes and members of high school and college campus ministries participated from the Diocese of San Bernardino. Members from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Archdiocese of Seattle, Diocese of Phoenix and college campus ministries in Arizona also joined the delegation.

 During the Mission Week the pilgrims stayed with host families in the Diocese of Sao Paulo, participated in catechetical sessions, celebrated Mass and immersed themselves in Brazilian culture. Aside from being exposed to Brazilian culture, the pilgrims also were able to interact with pilgrims from other countries, exchanging greetings in different languages and making new friends.

 “We had lunch one day and talked in four languages, Spanish, English, French and Portuguese,” said Cristian Hernandez, a pilgrim from Queen of Angeles Parish, Riverside. “Here at World Youth Day you speak in whatever language, there are no barriers. We try to understand the best we can and that has been a great experience.” 

 From July 23-28, the pilgrims participated in a host of activities during the World Youth Day programming in Rio de Janeiro. Pilgrims met and interacted with hundreds of thousands of youth representing countries from around the world.

 For Ortiz, the first week of events and activities set the tone and prepared her for the events with Pope Francis that followed. 

 “I went to World Youth Day asking for faith, that is what I prayed for the most,” Ortiz said. “The Mission Week helped amplify my faith so I could focus on the Pope’s call to strengthen my faith and act on it.” 

 The lasting impression felt by many of the pilgrims was the great expression of faith and the great sense of community while in Brazil. Pilgrims welcomed the interaction with others who were excited about their faith.

 “The shouts and jovial atmosphere sent shivers down my whole body as I felt a presence more powerful than the Pope’s,” said Raymond Deang, a pilgrim form St. Christopher Parish, Moreno Valley.