Perhaps it might seem that not much could possibly surprise you on a long (ok, really long!!) 36-hour journey from one side of the world to the other. But this day offered a menagerie of brilliant surprises for us to relish as NT WYD pilgrims, on our continuing journey to Brazil. There were the nifty nooks of space we discovered to rest our bodies for some shut-eye during a stopover at Dubai airport. Then meeting our first mobs of fellow WYD pilgrims, hailing from nations including Korea and Philippines, who were so eager to get off the plane after that 14.5 hour flight to Sao Paulo that they jumped up and were grabbing their bags out of the hatches long before the plane had actually come to a standstill. We are excited indeed! We are eager pilgrims on this journey, travelling here for a reason, maybe a bit of a search. And this journey keeps on showing us little surprises and pockets of joy throughout.
One pocketful of joy definitely arrived earlier tonight when, after our first taste of Brazilian air (and traffic), we were welcomed in as visiting pilgrims to our joy-filled host parish of San Judas for this Mission Week, here in Sao Paulo. Drums were beating, parishioners were clapping, and we felt like superstars as they guided us and welcomed us with loving hugs, kisses and nods of ‘Ole!’
Words weren’t really so integral in that instant, as we were already communicating with each other, by being parts of a greater gathering – the Universal Church. After dropping our bags and enjoying some dinner, this was celebrated in song, dance and cheers at our first pilgrim mass with the parish. As pilgrims from Croatia, Italy, Slovakia, Venezuela, Australia and many welcoming, dancing Brazilians celebrated mass together, joy flooded this place!
Later we were blessed to meet our host families and be truly embraced by these kind hearts who will welcome us into their homes for the next few days. Fatigue disappeared and here we found our new homes. Life is so Good!