Booster shots of hope!

“You are a booster shot of hope to me!” So said the inspiring Cardinal Dolan from New York at our English-speaking Catechesis session on this rainy day in Rio. Indeed, the last two mornings have called for great hope as pilgrims. Hope in catching a close glimpse of our kind, gentle, humble Pope Francis at Copacabana Beach last night. Hope in finding an extra jumper for the rather cooler weather than we, as the NT mob of pilgrims, had quite expected. Hope in the rain to slow and clear, especially before our Saturday night sleep-out. But most of all, hope in the wonderful possibility of meeting Jesus in new and greater ways in our lives as His disciples.

And God is delivering these gifts. Hope is truly bringing more hope – booster shots of the stuff!

These mornings, we walk with other pilgrims to our Catechesis sessions nearby, sometimes through mud, but persevering with a song, laugh or prayer. At these sessions, we celebrate with other pilgrims from New Zealand, USA, Ireland, UK and Australia with music, testimonies, a daily sharing from a prominent Cardinal or Bishop (Cardinal Napier from Durban, South Africa or the aforementioned New Yorker) on a particular topic, some open question time, then a joyful holy Mass together. This fills us, sending us out for the day ahead as we roam the streets of this Brazilian city, with Christ keeping watch for us and with us.

After an arvo at the energetic Aussie Gathering on Wednesday, our Thursday allowed us to take some time with our small groups. We reflected on all that is happening here and in our hearts as we enjoyed our new favourite Brazilian delight, a buffet lunch. The beans and rice are always a sensation amongst our group. After an afternoon of Taize prayer at a beautifully ornate and peaceful church, half our group stored up energy and body heat by watching the Papal arrival being broadcast at a nearby centre on the big screen (until the windy weather cut the signal). The other half of the mob ventured forth to the pilgrim hangout at Copacabana once again, to welcome His Holiness, waving the Aussie flag with verve! Go Papa Francisco!

There is so much hope around us. And IN us. God is forming us more and more as His disciples, filling our hearts with joy and love for Him, others and His great plans for each one of us. Together, we are pilgrims on the journey – near and far (that means you too, blogger!) And we are called to be booster shots of hope for the world.

Please keep working in us Lord as we trust you with our lives. Help us to become the hope-filled disciples you call us to be. Amen!

God bless you all, dear pilgrim bloggers.From Rio with love XXX
Lauren and the NT pilgrim mob

Cardinal Napier from Durban, South Africa addressing us at our Catechesis on Wednesday
Cardinal Napier from Durban, South Africa addressing us at our Catechesis on Wednesday

Arriving to the Cathedral - such a unique building
Arriving to the Cathedral – such a unique building

Keeping each other warm along the way - Rio has been experiencing very cold weather
Keeping each other warm along the way – Rio has been experiencing very cold weather

Our group at the Aussie Gathering on Wednesday
Our group at the Aussie Gathering on Wednesday

It is all good news in Rio! The welcome of the Brazilian people continues in an incredible way! What a joyful, loving and caring people.
It is all good news in Rio! The welcome of the Brazilian people continues in an incredible way! What a joyful, loving and caring people.

David and Mesak taking a quick break :)
David and Mesak taking a quick break 🙂

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