World Youth Day - Rio 2013

More than 40 students from The University of Notre Dame Australia were part of an estimated 2.5 million pilgrims in Brazil to celebrate World Youth Day.

Having spent the previous weeks travelling through Peru and Argentina, seeing incredible wonders such as Iguazu Falls and significant South American religious sites, Notre Dame’s pilgrims gathered in Rio de Janiero for the biennial religious celebrations.

World Youth Day is a celebration of faith that brings together young people from over 150 countries. More than 60,000 volunteers were on hand to help direct pilgrims throughout the city throughout the week – the same city that will play host to the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games over the next three years. Pope Francis greeted pilgrims on a stage overlooking Copacabana Beach on July 25.

A vigil was held on July 27 outside Rio de Janiero at a site, dubbed Campus Fidei or ‘Field of Faith’, which is equal in size to approximately 150 soccer fields. The mass drew a capacity crowd, some of whom watched proceedings on the 33 large outdoor screens.

“World Youth Day is something that I will never forget. Not just the few special experiences I have shared in this testimony and the many others that I haven’t, but simply the time spent with so many people who have inspired me," said Justine Ralph, a student at Notre Dame's Fremantle Campus.