I received an e-mail letter from Fr. Eric about an hour ago and thought I’d share some excerpts from it with you. He tells us of his experiences so far on the pilgrimage*:
When we (4 from St. Anastasia, 10 from Flint/Burton, 1 from Columbus, Ohio) arrived at about 6am Monday morning, a bus took us through Centro Rio down to Copacabana; a distance of about 12 to 14 miles. We dropped off our luggage at the Copacabana Sur Hotel, and proceeded to receive a short tour of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, with a lunch break at the beach sipping out of freshly cut coconuts. The weather was hot and sunny even though it is “winter” (since we are south of the equator) here; although the shade was much better.
Then, on anywhere from 3 to 5 hours of “sleep” on the 9 hour flight (12 counting Detroit to Miami), we took the Metro up to the city center where we first saw the concrete pyramid known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saõ Sebastian.
After, we went to the very ornate and beautiful St. Benedict Monastery in the northern section of the city center. We returned via Metro to Copacabana and ate at a Churrascaria (a Brazilian steakhouse). I was impressed by Marcella’s (a young Carioca, which is similar to saying Detroiter, New Yorker…etc.) great love for chicken hearts! She is a very devout Catholic and regularly attends the Extraordinary Form (aka the “Tridentine Mass”) of the Mass here in Rio.
I finished off the day by offering Mass in the area in front of the elevator outside the room myself, Paul, and the Deacon share.
On Tuesday morning, after eating some mango and breakfast fare, I went with Alyssa to swim at Copacabana Beach — in spite of the overcast skies. I saw what I am almost certain was a baby shark, based on its shape and swim pattern. I also took some coral I found.
[The Deacon and Fr. Eric make a frustrating and unsuccessful trip to the cathedral to try and obtain his priest credentials.] Providentially, just outside the cathedral, the Lord and St. Sebastian drew my attention to a beautiful brown and bright yellow bird standing on the ground close to me. The Lord is so good and he knows my childlike fascination with His creatures!
Right now we are waiting until 11:00 or 11:30 to go with our guides Marcella and Ingrid (? Not sure of the Portuguese spelling) to the other side of Copacabana (which is the neighborhood we are in and not just a beach) to basically wait until 6pm when Pope Francis will drive through a route to greet the WYD pilgrims.
To be continued…since we need to leave to go wait with anticipation for our Holy Father! (In the rain! Lol!)
In Christ through Mary,
Fr. Eric Fedewa
* With some light editing, 🙂