Masai, Johor, 30th June 2013 – The 16 Malacca-Johore Diocese Pilgrims who are attending the 14th World Youth Day which is going to be hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, gathered here today for the pre-departure briefing, followed by a Commissioning Mass presided by Bishop Dr. Paul Tan, SJ.
The air was filled with excited chattering and get-to-know questions and answers. It was the first meet for a few pilgrims but it did not take long for them to warm up to each other. Knowing that each will be embarking on this life-changing pilgrimage to the World Youth Day, it was very natural for pilgrims to feel like they are in a very unique and special way, connected to each other. A pilgrim, Amy Tan, this being her first World Youth Day, says that this is a dream come true; to be able to celebrate the faith with millions of other youths is something that she never thought would happen. She recalls watching the World Youth Day promo clip online last year, she remembers thinking that it was not possible for her. Today, less than 3 weeks to the departure date, she still feels surreal. She prays that this pilgrimage will be a time for her recollect and to listen to God’s prompting for her to discern. For Raymond Hooi, this is going to be his’ third World Youth Day. He says it still feels exciting just like the first time. This is the first time he will be on this pilgrimage in a group, having attended Sydney 2008 and Madrid 2011 as an Individual Pilgrim.
Bishop Dr. Paul Tan, SJ, presided the commissioning mass with Deacon Adrian Ng as the co-celebrant.
Deacon Adrian Ng, in addressing the pilgrims during the homily, said that the pilgrimage does not start when the plane takes off, or when it lands in Rio, but rather, has long started when YES was uttered in response to the invitation extended by the Holy Father to the youths, to be with millions of believers in this North American country. Deacon Adrian Ng gave special and specific tips to have a fruitful pilgrimage through a method called The Four Os; or oooo (the sound when the lightbulb lights up). The first O being to be always ‘On Target’ and focused on the purpose of our lives on earth, and to fix our eyes on our Eternal Home in Heaven. The second O for ‘On The Way’, reminding us that Rio2013 is an image on the bigger pilgrimage of life. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are to be strong and brave in facing ‘Obstacles’ (third O) and to grasp every ‘Opportunity’ (fourth O) we are given to share about our faith and beliefs especially with the local Brazilians with whom the pilgrims are going to encounter in Rio de Janeiro.
Bishop Tan wishes all the pilgrims a fruitful trip to the Brazilian City and on a strong note, to stay safe all the time.
The 14th World Youth Day is going to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from the 23rd to the 28th of July 2013. The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Go and make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19).