Rio de Janeiro 02/08/13, (Sodalit News – Brasil). Katherine Bauman, member of the Christian Life Movement in the US, had the opportunity to read the first reading during the Final Mass of World Youth Day, celebrated by Pope Francis.
“It was an incredible experience,” Katherine explained. “It was amazing to look out over the several million people there and think that this was all because twelve men said ‘yes’ to God two thousand years ago,” she said excitedly after having seen the millions of young people along the four kilometers of Copacabana beach. “Reading before millions of people in Copacabana and to be present in mass in a Latin American country with a Latin American Pope has shown me that I’m part of something much bigger than myself,” she concluded.
Katherine, who turned 20 the day after the Final Mass, is from Denver and studies theology, education as well as classical Latin and Greek at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. Speaking of her experience as a participant at World Youth Day, she commented, “This opportunity has expanded my perception of the diversity and richness of our Church.” The participants of World Youth Day came from a total of 175 countries. When members of the Christian Life Movement from around the world sang “Happy Birthday” for her, Katherine perceived the joy and richness of being a member of an international movement.
This was the first time she had attended World Youth Day but before arriving to Rio part of her delegation went to Sao Paulo. There they collaborated with Solidarity in Action to provide catechesis for the children and adults of the community Jardim Felicidade in a favela pertaining to the dioceses of Campo Limpo. What marked her most about the experience was “the openness of heart of the people” she met at the solidarity center, Nossa Senhora Aparecida which promotes this project of the Christian Life Movement in Brazil.
This experience of service was very much at the heart of Pope Francis’ exhortation in the Final Mass who encouraged the participants to transmit the faith to others through “a life of service”, following Jesus’ example. Pope Francis said that evangelizing “is overcoming our egoism; is to serve by bending over to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters as Jesus did.” These words touched the hearts of the young men and women that participated.
Similarly, the Pope’s visit to the favela of Varginha was also very moving for Katherine because “what he sees first is the person and the most important thing for him is to encounter him or her and give his love.” This led her to ask this of the youth: “What would happen if all of us were to truly live our faith? What wouldn’t we be able to achieve? I think we could do a lot.” For Katherine, and many other young people, this World Youth Day has certainly been an unforgettable experience.