The archbishop of Leon, France, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was accompanying youth from his diocese to the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro suffered a double heart attack in Cayenne, in French Guyana on Sunday, July 21st.
“I entrust myself to your prayers and rely on you, above all, the youth who are going to live the great adventure of the WYD in Rio with Pope Francis. Unfortunately, I cannot be with you, but my prayers will accompany you even more,” Cardinal Barbarin assured the youth.
Misfortune seems to follow the journey of French youth going to Rio. In a tragic bus accident in French Guyana on July 17th, a 21 year old woman from Paris, Sophie Morinière was killed. Recently, airplane failure stranded French youth in Cayenne.
“The condition of the Archbishop of Leon are not considered grave at the moment,” sources close to the prelate stated, however the Cardinal Barbarin will be unable to continue his trip to Rio.
Cardinal Barbarin arrived to Cayenne on Thursday, July 18th where he meeting with a group of roughly 700 French youth, from Leon, the Parisian region, and from the diocese of Evreux and Cayenne.
Their airplane, operated by White Jet airlines, remains in São Paulo due to failure. The group hoped to arrive in time for welcoming feast for the youth that will be held in Copacabana on Thursday evening.
The WYD delegate for the diocese of Paris, Fr. Christophe de Lussy, underlined that the local authorities are doing all they can to assist the 700 youth in arriving to Rio. Staying in gymnasiums and schools of Cayenne, the youth have “recognized the hospitality of the people of Guyana, who have mobilized to receive them.”
An estimated 5,500 young French men and women are expected to attend the worldwide meeting of youth, which officially began yesterday.