"On a mountain, on a different continent, I ran into a seminarian from Holy Trinity Seminary," said Shelby Flood BA'14, a pastoral ministry major from Denton, Texas.
The two UD students found each other amidst the mass of 3.5 million pilgrims from 175 countries who attended World Youth Day in Rio di Janeiro, Brazil, from July 23-28. The mountain was Corcovado Mountain, home of the 125-foot Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio.
Sylvia Whiteacre BA '10, who attended with Jason Deuterman MTS '13 and seminarian Quinn Huston BA '13, was overwhelmed with the sheer number of pilgrims.
"It brought back memories of standing in line for Easter vigil at the Vatican," said Whiteacre. "There were people everywhere."
Flood's favorite part of the six-day gathering was attending a vocations fair where pilgrims participated in Eucharistic adoration using one of the six monstrances that Blessed John Paul II blessed specifically for vocations.
"I was blessed to be able to see Pope Francis up close three days in a row as he drove along Copacabana beach," said Flood.
Kneeling on the sand of Copacabana beach for adoration with Pope Francis was a pivotal moment in the event for Whiteacre.
"The world tells you not to care about your faith, about being Catholic, but when you're there in Rio with all those people, you get a feeling of encouragement and peace that you are all headed towards the same goal: faith," said Whiteacre.
Photo courtesy of Jason Deuterman MTS '13.