A group of 67 young people from the slums in Buenos Aires heading to Brazil for World Youth Day will leave an image of Our Lady of Lujan as a gift to the youth in the slums in Rio de Janeiro.
The Argentine young people live in slums often visited by then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, thus sharing a unique fraternal encounter with residents in the Varginha slum, or “favela,” in Rio, which Pope Francis will visit July 25.
Father Mario Micelli, the Buenos Aires archdiocesan delegate for World Youth Day, said he did not know if the young people would be able to get close to the Pope, as “everything depends on security officials and on the facilities that organizers provide for us.”
The image of Our Lady of Lujan – the patroness of Argentina – will be brought to Rio by Fr. Hernan Morelli, parochial vicar of Holy Mary Mother of the People. In preparation for the trip, he brought the image to various parish communities for veneration by the faithful, who were invited to leave their prayer intentions, which he said he would try to deliver to the Pope.
Two other images of Our Lady of Lujan will be taken to Brazil.
One is for the Sumare residence, where Pope Francis will stay. The Holy Father will be asked to bless the image before it is taken back to Buenos Aires where it will be venerated in numerous parishes, as well as other dioceses in Brazil.
The other image will be taken to the Cathedral of Saint Sebastian in Rio de Janeiro for the Mass Pope Francis will celebrate there July 27. It will be left there as a gift to the Archdiocese of Rio.