(11) WYD Rio: Seeing with eyes of Faith

Last July 13, our CFC-FFL missionaries left for Brazil to attend World Youth Day. For each of them, it was an experience of a lifetime!

Read their inspiring testimonies in this series.  As they have been immensely blessed by their pilgrimage in Rio, may you be blessed by these sharings.

Seeing with eyes of Faith

A World Youth Day Testimony by Sweet Fatima Ian Roque, CFC YFL Fulltime Pastoral Worker

This year, I can truly say that it’s the Year of Faith. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me and my loved-ones. During the start of the year 2013, my prayer was: “Lord, grant me the grace to see with eyes of faith.” Well there’s a saying to be careful with what you pray for because God grants it

At the World Youth Day 2013 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I understood deeper what seeing with the eyes of faith meant.

The first lesson I learned was: put on faith and believe in God’s promises. Pope Francis said this during the opening mass: “Bota fe,” which means put on faith; have faith in God’s promises. One of those promises that God fulfilled was that I was able to go to WYD 2013. I never thought I will be able to go this year due to the high cost of plane fare and yet through the generosity of the community members and friends that bought tickets to help us raise funds, I was blessed to become a delegate in WYD.

Last WYD, I was able to go Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, and it was another blessing to see Trono de Fatima at Petropolis this WYD. I felt it was another God’s promise fulfilled. Mary is journeying with me once again.

Another occurrence that showed God as my great Promise-keeper was when I was able to read during the closing Mass of Semana Missionaria. I was in the stage together with the Bishops and Archbishops. Not only that, I was able to witness the young believers pray as one Holy and Apostolic Church because of the view from the top of the stage.

God’s greatest promise to me during WYD is to see Him face to face. I had so many Jesus Christ experiences. I saw the Pope Francis twice: before the vigil and before the closing Mass. I also went to Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado.

Second, live out your faith and believe in God’s love. The Catholic faith is truly universal. We had different languages  yet we were able to understand each other because we are united by our faith. There is one universal language and that is love. We felt the love of God through one another in Rio.

I felt God’s embrace as He welcomed us in Brazil with open arms through the people that hosted us, helped us, and loved us. We were actually surprised that our host families both in Rio and Maua were so generous, hospitable, caring and loving. They treated us as their own children and siblings.

There was a time during missionary week, wherein our community invited everyone to praise and worship our God. It felt like it was Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was really in our midst. There were three different languages : Spanish, Portuguese, and English yet we worshipped one God. It was surreal. When we talked to the youth from Venezuela, Panama and Brazil, they were saying that they felt the love of God during the worship!

Memorable to me was what Pope Francis said during the vigil “Dear friends, never forget that you are the field of faith! You are Christ’s athletes! You are called to build a more beautiful Church and a better world”

Third, share your faith and be witnesses of God’s greatness. “Go, do not be afraid and serve” those are the resounding words of Pope Francis during the closing Mass at Copacabana. He challenged us to share our faith. He wants us to go and make disciples of  all nations. He wants us to bear witness to His Gospel and evangelize.

I felt encouraged when he said “Christ is counting on you, the Church is counting on you, and the Pope is counting on you.” As we evangelize, He will never leave us and He will accompany us.

Right there and then, I felt my calling as a missionary was being renewed. I was empowered to follow Jesus. Because of this, I will share Christ and bear witness to everyone, without borders or limits. As Pope said “Faith is a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on, so that everyone may know, love and confess Jesus Christ, the Lord of life and history (cf. Rom10:9)”.

Seeing with the eyes of faith means we put on faith, live out our faith and share our faith because we believe in God’s promises, love and greatness.

All I can say to summarize my pilgrimage is “Muito Obrigada O Deus!” My heart is filled with so much joy because of the blessing to attend WYD 2013. I am so grateful to the Lord for bringing me to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as a pilgrim. Cliché but true, it changed my life once again.