As I grabbed for my shoes recently, grains of sand fell to the floor. A joyous reminder that just a couple weeks ago, I was on a beach. This wasn’t your typical beach vacation though –– I was on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro with millions of other Catholics, celebrating World Youth Day. For me it was a super-charged spiritual retreat. I assure you, Rio is still fresh on the minds and hearts of all the WYD pilgrims. It was uplifting and inspiring, and for this pilgrim, something I will truly never forget.
I think back now, and the whole week seems like a blur. Like a dream. A dream with lots of sand.
World Youth Day has ended but the impact it left on the millions who lived it remains strong. Many pilgrims are now spreading their faith all over the globe. After all, the theme for this WYD was “Go and make Disciples of all Nations” (Matthew 28:19). The sand from Copacabana Beach will eventually leave my shoes completely, but the effects of what I experienced on that beach will always remain. I saw a unified church, and a faith that is very much alive.