Rio de Janeiro experienced another day of rain on Wednesday along with lower than normal temperatures, forcing World Youth Day pilgrims to wear the jackets and ponchos they packed but did not plan to wear.
Leao, a security guard at the World Youth Day media center in Rio, told CNA July 24, “This cold is not normal and it is very cold. Neither is the rain. This is normal in Sao Paulo but not here.”
Rodrigo, an umbrella vendor at Copacabana beach, also said it was unusually cold.
“I don’t see this dampening the enthusiasm of the young people. They pass by here happy and sometimes buy something,” sometimes an umbrella or a plastic poncho.
The rain and cold did not keep young people from showing up in throngs for the first morning of teaching sessions at the more than 270 different stations across the World Youth Day area. The names of the bishop catechists at each site are kept secret until the session begins to surprise the young people.
Organizers expect the number of participants to swell over the next two days and reach a crescendo at the vigil on Saturday night and the closing Mass on Sunday, when Pope Francis will announce the location of the next international edition of the youth event.
Previous World Youth Days took place in Madrid, Sydney, Rome, Toronto and Denver, to name a few. The events have drawn millions of people and provide young people with a chance to grow deeper in the faith, while also giving the Church a boost.