200 young people from Houston-Galveston churches embark on a trip of a lifetime

July 19, 2013

Catherine Rogan, Media Relations Specialist, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

200 young people from Houston-Galveston churches embark on a trip of a lifetime

Spending a week in Rio de Janeiro sounds like fun, and it will be, but these young people are going there for a truly unique experience – they’re going on a pilgrimage to World Youth Day.

Over the next week, approximately 200 young people from parishes in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will be packing for a 15-hour flight to Rio. For many this will be their first time in Brazil and at the international event.

Once in Rio, they will gather with more than one million other people from around the world to worship and celebrate their Catholic faith, plus they will have the added bonus of listening to the inspirational words of Pope Francis.

Kathy Sacueza, 22, a parishioner at St. Laurence Catholic Church in Sugar Land, learned about a group going to World Youth Day through her parish bulletin and was intrigued. She said she wanted to go because “a pilgrimage is something that connects both the physical and spiritual. To experience Christ through the sufferings, happy times, and connecting with others on pilgrimage models the pilgrimage of life I want to live.”

When asked what she was most excited about she said there is so much she’s looking forward to. “First off, being Catholic, seeing the Pope is up there on the list of things to be excited about. Secondly, being able to share my faith with others on this trip is exciting, too. There is definitely a missionary aspect to World Youth Day whether we're aware of it or not. Being able to interact with different people from all over the world in another country enables us to spread the Gospel and love of Christ in a very unique way. Thirdly, I'm excited about being immersed in different cultures. There will be millions of pilgrims from all different parts of the world! I can't wait to meet, interact, and maybe even learn a couple things from the people around us.”

Fellow pilgrim, Devyn Weymouth, 20, echoed Kathy’s words. Devyn is hoping that above all else “to be ‘on fire’ for my faith. I want to be so filled by God's love that I become more willing and able to learn more, grow more, and cultivate my faith in ways that I have not yet done or discovered possible. I also hope that through experiencing God's grace and love in such a deep and profound way will enable me to love others more fully and selflessly.”

Claire McMullin is leading a group for the first time from several local churches. She hopes that as a group they “return closer to the Church, to our brothers and sisters as the Body of Christ, and as disciples (or moving towards that) on fire with love that we can’t help but share it with our parishes, schools, families … everyone!”

Blessed Pope John Paul II developed World Youth Day in 1985. The event is held every three years. This year’s theme is, “Go and Make Disciples of All Nations!”

The event is not simply a gathering for the young people of the world, but it’s a time to put trust in the world’s youth, a calling for them to come together as one. They learn how they themselves, along with the Catholic Church, can help others in finding their way and discovering hope.

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston serves 1.2 million Catholics in 10 counties.
It is the largest Roman Catholic diocese in Texas and the 12th largest in the United States.

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