"Morning Watchmen" at the Shrine of the Youth

Yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, July 23, Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta presided over the opening ceremony of Rio’s WYD with thousands of young people and hundreds of Bishops who defied a subtle and persistent rain, which recalled Gideon’s fleece, given the challenge of the New Evangelization.

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Rain suffused with the foam of the sea of Copacabana on whose beach thousands upon thousands of young people crowded for the official opening of the World Youth Day.

Chattering and joyful voices in different languages blended with the religious songs of different international groups which succeeded one another on the official stage, the same one where on Thursday Pope Francis will be welcomed a few meters from the ocean by a sea of young people.

The arrival of the WYD cross and Marian icon, when by that time the sunlight had given way to projectors and colored lights, a suggestive choreography marked the start of the event with merrymaking and dancing young people who seemed to be leaving for a distant land, responding to the present theme “Go and make disciples.”

The recitation of the missionary Rosary, in the Sorrowful Mysteries, introduced the Eucharist: per Mariam ad Jesum.

Representatives of five continents, a young South African, an Argentine boy, an Australian young lady, a Swiss youth and a Chinese boy led the prayer in their different languages.

Every continent was remembered in turn by different colors reproduced on the stage with techno-illumination: green for Africa, red for America, white for Europe, blue for Oceania and yellow for Asia.

Immediately after the Holy Mass began, presided over by the archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta of Saint Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro, who recalled and prayed for the eternal repose of so many young people who died because of violence, especially in Brazil, and the 21-year-old Parisian deceased in the tragic incident in French Guyana, while she was going to Rio’s WYD.

The number of participants and concelebrants was impressive, with Metropolitan Bishops becoming Cosmopolitans for the occasion!

In his homily, Archbishop Tempesta — referring to the call of the publican Matthew and to Samuel’s vocational response present in the First Reading –, invited young people to come out of themselves and be ready to respond to God’s plan.

The environmental scene was also well adapted to the vocational proposal which, for the majority of the Apostles, regarded men accustomed to life on the water, in as much as fishermen.

Until next Sunday the carioca city presents itself to the world as a shrine of youth and sacrament of a young and always amazing Church which contradicts all the very compliant and harmful catastrophism’s to the evangelizing endeavor itself.

Several times the archbishop addressed young people as “morning watchmen.”

The hope is that, after a night of history, young people become adults will be able to awaken, seeing their own dreams realized.

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Alfonso Maria Bruno

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