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Meetings with young people in Rio de Janeiro

The Prelate of Opus Dei arrived in Rio de Janeiro on July 24 for World Youth Day. He stayed at the Botafogo Cultural Center, which ordinarily functions as a university residence, and which on this occasion welcomed about a hundred people from all over the world (from Nigeria, Japan, Canada, Spain, Chile, Mexico, etc.), who had come to Rio to see the Pope. On the following day, the feast of St. James the Apostle, the Prelate celebrated Holy Mass there and urged those present to take advantage of World Youth Day to grow in apostolic zeal and to be very united to the Pope and to the whole Church. He repeated this petition constantly in later gatherings. On the same day, the 25th, he had a get-together with a group of young people in a convention center, with three thousand people attending. Despite the large crowd, his catechesis took place in a family-like and relaxed atmosphere.

In his initial words, the Prelate encouraged those present to realize that they are the hope of the Church and of the Pope: “It is time—today as yesterday, and always—that Catholicism not be confused with mediocrity. Our Lord asks us for perfection: in our work or study, finishing each task very well, and also in our family life, our friendships, our moments of relaxation. Moreover, God wants us to never compromise with anything that could separate us from him.”

A student of cinematography spoke about his desire to help produce programs and films that present positive role models, and asked how he could struggle to live the virtue of holy purity well. In his reply, the Prelate spoke about prudence and temperance in the use of the internet, among other points.

The second question was from Francisco, from Paraguay, who will soon celebrate his fifteenth birthday. He attends activities in a center of the Work for young people in Asunción. He said that, from about a year ago, he has felt that our Lord is asking him for something more. Although he has been praying to discern God’s will, he wanted to know how to resolve his unrest. Bishop Echevarría encouraged him to try to be close to Jesus in the Eucharist, and added: “Don’t be afraid, since he gave his life for you. And also realize that, if you are generous, if you aren’t afraid to tell our Lord ‘yes,’ by your life you will help many Paraguayans to make progress.”

Other topics touched on were the virtue of poverty, the Gospel, prayer, the need for Christian formation in order to lead a life consistent with the faith, etc.

Bishop Echevarría had a similar get-together with girls who frequent apostolic works of Opus Dei in various countries. For them too he had words of optimism for their efforts to Christianize society. He spoke about the Sacrament of Confession, a filial relationship with our Lady, and the help provided by spiritual direction. And he encouraged them to pray for the more than three million people who, according to estimates, were taking part in the ceremonies of World Youth Day— “so that they continue drawing ever closer to our Lord, and do a lot of apostolate, thus seconding the wishes of Pope Francis.”

Romana, No. 57, July-December 2013, pag. 211-212.