In the Catholic Business Journal, Br. Andrew James DeSilva (’03) tells about his adventures of chaperoning 24 college students on a trip to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day. A member of the Community of St. John, Br. Andrew James describes the pilgrimage as having three dimensions: “Service, Formation, and Pope.” The students, who mostly hailed from Seton Hall University, spent time serving the poor with the Missionaries of Charity, being formed through daily Mass and morning and night prayer, and seeing Pope Francis up close when he paid a surprise visit to the slum where they were working.
The students he brought to Rio, says Br. Andrew James, were from “very different faith levels,” yet all no doubt grew in holiness through the experience. The Holy Father, he adds, has a gift for reaching the hearts of young people:
“Pope Francis understands the thirst of our youth for an Absolute, helping them find a Name for what it is that they are searching for; giving them a direction for their journey beyond normalcy. This World Youth Day (as they all are) was an experience of the Church. A young Church who is excited, and ready to take up the challenge given to them by Jesus in the Gospel: ‘If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.’”