Aparecida 07/25/13 (Sodalit News – Brazil). With his arrival in Brazil for World Youth Day the Holy Father wanted to visit the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida. Michell Lima, a young Sodalit who read during the prayer of the faithful at the mass talks about his experience.
The mass, celebrate with over 15 thousand people inside the majestic Basilica dedicated to the virgin was very moving. Michell Lima, who is a member of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, works with communications and is a host for the online channel Jovens de Maria, received an invitation to participate in the mass reading a petition during the Mass with the Holy Father in the Sanctuary.
“It has been an unforgettable experience. I was very close to the Pope during the whole liturgy. It was a chance to grow in the feeling of belonging to the Church, to see a real pastor so close to me, physically and spiritually.” Michell told us, adding, “the experience allowed me to renew my filial love towards the Holy Father.”
Relating his experience before the Eucharistic celebration, which was watched by over 200 thousand people in the plaza outside the Basilica, Michell recalls that, “while we waited for the Holy Father to arrive, I prayed for the whole Church, for those who suffer in the world and especially in Brazil, for my friends, my family and for the Pope. When the mass was drawing to a close, I felt the goodness of God. I know that a lot of people would like to be where I was but I haven’t done anything to earn this opportunity. It was a gift from God!” concludes the Brazilian Sodalit.
The Holy Father arrived at Aparecida, a small city in the valley of Paraiba that was built around the sanctuary for the statue of the Virgin, found by some fishermen almost 300 years ago, by helicopter. Pope Francis was in this same city 6 years ago for the Fifth Meeting of Latinamerican Bishops, in which Cardinal Bergoglio was the coordinator for the commission which wrote the concluding document of the Aparecida meeting.
He recalled in his homily that the other bishops were encouraged and inspired by the thousands of pilgrims that came to visit the Virgin. “The faith of those pilgrims moved the then Cardinal and motivated his return to this Sanctuary this time around.” Michell affirms, reflecting on the Pope’s visit to Aparecida. The Holy Father said he would return to Aparecida in 2017 to celebrate 300 since the apparition of the Virgin.
“It was grand to see so many people who waited since the night before in line to be able to see the Pope. They were very happy. Everyone at the Sanctuary was very conscious that Francis was a representative of Christ on Earth, our pastor, and that is why we could see so much joy and reverence in the people.” Michell surmised from his unforgettable experiences.
The Sodalitium Christianae Vitae has a community in Aparecida since 2010. Its members there work with the Christian Life Movement, work for the Media outlet of the Sanctuary of Aparecida and produce an online program for young people called ‘Buscando o sentido’.