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Jimmy Hsu :
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Jimmy Hsu is a seminarian of the Paulist Fathers beginning his fourth year of graduate studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Jimmy is from Plano, Texas, and studied computer science at the University of Texas in Austin before deciding to enter the Paulist Fathers.
July 28th, 2013

Ever wondered what it’s like to have mass on a beach with 3 million of your best friends? That’s kind of what it’s like on the beach today. Incredible energy and excitement as the final mass of WYD 2013 begins. While the beach was jam packed, a group of Peruvian pilgrims welcomed Busted Halo into the space they had camped last night. And it turns out that one of those pilgrims is a classmate of mine at Catholic University!
And to cap off the experience, I noticed during mass that the organizers were in desperate need of ministers to distribute communion. And so I was able to offer my service to distribute communion at a mass with the pope! And let me say, I thought there was no end in sight for the communion…

July 28th, 2013

Do you remember those sleepovers with your friends or cousins? Well, here at WYD, millions camped out on the beach in a massive sleepover. And it was packed! Groups were forced to form human walls around their campsite to prevent themselves from getting trampled. And space on the beach is a premium. One group of pilgrims even went right up to the water and constructed a elaborate wall system to prevent the water from washing away their camp site.
Excitement is high on the beach, even after the changes in location, when there were rumors that pilgrims would not be able to camp out for the night, which would have displaced many of those who had planned to be at the vigil all night. And now, this sleepover will end with mass…

July 27th, 2013

As the weekend comes, so does the climax of the World Youth Day. Because of the rain earlier this week, the vigil and papal mass was moved from its original location, which was more than seven miles away from the closest subway stop. Instead, the vigil and the mass will be on Copacabana Beach, where other events had been this past week.
It is another WYD tradition for the final mass to take place a bit aways from other events, so that the pilgrims would make a pilgrimage to the final mass the night before, and keep vigil for the mass with music, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and lots of meeting people from other countries.
Despite the change, many pilgrims are still making the journey on foot, as seen above. And in a little…

July 26th, 2013

Tonight, Copacabana Beach was packed again with young Catholics from all over the world, joining Pope Francis for the Stations of the Cross. In a change of venue, I watched the stations from Vivo Rio, the English catechetical site where I have been for the morning sessions with various bishops. There, the stations were streamed live with English translation by Salt and Light television from Canada. Even though it’s not the beach, it was still packed with pilgrims.

Mark also has been working hard in producing our third video, documenting our trip out to the WYD Vocations Fair, where many activities were set up to help the young pilgrims discern, or figure out, what God is calling them to do in life. Since being…

July 26th, 2013

After my disappointment at not seeing the pope close up last night, my friend Pope Francis texted me saying that he’ll have a few minutes and told me to go and meet him on the streets of Rio. Ok … Maybe not. But I did run into a barricade on a street I was trying to cross when he drove right past, and waved at me (or in my direction).

Shortly after seeing the pope, I ran into a friend of mine from Catholic University of America, who is a Conventual Franciscan. Friar Emanuel gave me a tour of the Franciscan space, a collaborative project of all the Franciscans to host a site for WYD pilgrims to experience the brothers. I got to meet so many Franciscans! I even got a small gift from the minister general, the worldwide head…

July 26th, 2013

Last night, we had the official welcome of my good friend, Pope Francis, to World Youth Day, again on the beaches of Copacabana. The crowds were simply immense. And for a short person like me, it means that I didn’t get to see anything past the shoulders of taller pilgrims (which is almost everyone).
However, Mark was able to get a good vantage point for the camera. He also got to meet a few friends from a few different countries.

During the short time Mark and I got separated by the crowd, I got to meet a group of pilgrims from Taiwan, where my parents were from. I got to brush up a little on my limited Chinese. Here in this picture, one pilgrim from Taiwan exchanges a culture item with me. It is the customs at WYD for people…

July 25th, 2013

At the end of every catechetical session, the bishop who led the catechesis presides over a mass in that language for the gathered WYD pilgrims. Today, the Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, spoke on discipleship. He uses St. James, whose feast day it is today, as the model of disciples, who are called to give fully of themselves in whatever way God calls.
Archbishop Coleridge was joined by many English-speaking people from England, Scotland, South Africa, Canada, Australia, United States, and others. One thing different that I saw at this mass was that there was someone holding an inflatable kangaroo. Maybe that’s part of the Mass in Australia.…

July 25th, 2013

Almost as soon as we arrived at Rio, it started raining. Coincidence? Maybe. Today, the rain got even harder as pilgrims begin to arrive for the second day of catechetical sessions. And there is no end in sight.
Even with all the rain, Vivo Rio, the catechetical location I’m at is still packed, with more people arriving every second, with the same enthusiasm as ever. Later this afternoon, there will be an official welcoming ceremony for Pope Francis, who has been in the country since Monday. I hope he packed an umbrella!…

July 24th, 2013

Celebrities are everywhere! Tonight, our very own Fr. Dave Dwyer spoke to the English-speaking pilgrims about his vocation story. There have been a lot of priests, seminarians, brothers, and sisters here at WYD. I wonder what drew them all here?
P.S. — Here’s a link to the video of Fr. Dave talking to pilgrims about his own call to the priesthood at the last World Youth Day he attended 20 years ago in Denver. Fast forward ahead in the video to 1:10:00 to hear Fr. Dave.…

July 24th, 2013

After the opening mass for World Youth Day, celebrated by the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro on the beach, the week-long festivities are in full swing now. This morning starts with the first of three catechetical sessions with various bishops. Every pilgrim is assigned to a location based on their language.
I’m here at the Modern Museum of Art, where Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York gave his talk on hope. Cardinal Dolan said that “hope is belief in a God who fulfills his promise.” And the cardinal’s message was received with a response I’d have expected at a concert!
In a few minutes, the cardinal will be celebrating mass with the pilgrims here before sending us off to various events…

July 23rd, 2013

When you are in a different country, you get to try food that you normally don’t get to experience. Even when you eat something you are familiar with, each place puts their own twist on it. Last night, we got to eat Brazilian pizza, which had toppings like eggs in addition to hams and veggies.
Here in this picture, Mark is trying the cashew juice. I wonder how many cashews it took just to get that one glass!…

July 23rd, 2013

One of the first questions that we were asked after getting into Rio is: “Green, yellow, or blue?” It sounded like that question Neo was asked in the movie The Matrix,… although with a little less implications. No, we weren’t being asked what color pill we would like to take, but we were being asked what color backpack we would like.
Every pilgrim at WYD is given a backpack full of goodies, from guidebooks about surviving the week to official T-shirts, hats, and even a water bottle. Seen here is the full content of the pilgrim kit. And this afternoon, World Youth Day 2013 kicks off! Can’t wait!

July 21st, 2013

Mark and I are at Dulles International Airport, ready to head to Rio. We just had a chance to interview some pilgrims also headed to World Youth Day before boarding the flight. We also got to meet Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia! Here I am with a group of pilgrims and seminarians from Erie, Pennsylvania, holding a Busted Halo beach ball that we will handing out at WYD. And now, we’ve gotta run before we miss the flight!…

July 9th, 2013

Paulist seminarian (me) meets World Youth Day (HUGE, global, young adult Catholic gathering). What will happen? That’s anyone’s guess — even mine. I’ve been around the Church for a while, but I have to admit that I don’t know what to expect in a few weeks when I arrive in Rio to work with Mark Irons to bring Busted Halo® readers reports from World Youth Day.
I have never been to a World Youth Day. I haven’t even traveled outside of the United States that much. So for me, there is a lot of excitement and also a tiny bit of fear of all the unknowns that come with international travels.
I’m hoping this experience will strengthen my call to serve as an ordained priest in the Church. About a month after this trip,…

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