Catholic Youth Parramatta

Parramatta to Rio blog

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Ian Jordan


No matter where you travel in Rio, whether night or day, you are drawn to the 'Cristo Redento' (Christ The Redeemer) on top of Corcovada Hill! It is absolutely stunning and gives panaramic views of all of Rio. WYD officials are negotiating with local government to have this and the Sugar Loaf chairlift open '24/7' during WYD week in 2013.

The following images give an idea of what a brilliant venue Rio de Janerio will be for our pilgrims in 2013.


Ian and Michael now say farewell and thanks to all, as our field trip draws to a close.

We were very appreciative of the prayers and blessings for our success and safe return. While reports will be tabled and much discussion pursued....Michael and I are very encouraged as to what we have seen and what can be done to ensure success for Parramatta Pilgrims WYD13.




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Ian Jordan


As you walk through the Rio WYD13 offices you are greeted by a stunning mural which invites youth across the world to come to Rio in July, 2013.


'Go and make Disciples of all Nations' ...M28:19.

After the meeting with WYD officials we were taken to the 'Catedral do Rio de Janerio'...Rio's San Sebastian Cathedral! 


The Cathedral took 12 years to be completed and was blessed and opened by Pope Paul XI in 1976. It can seat several thousand and has 25 arcs of granite and stained glass windows. Extraordinary!



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Ian Jordan


The World Youth Day Rio offices had several stunning murals which impressed. Two which follow will be used to communicate to the world about what is happening in Rio in July 2013!!

 The above smiling faces are Brazilian youth already signed up for WYD13!!


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Ian jordan


After another hectic schedule of departures from Lima (Argentina) and then Sao Paulo (Brazil), we finally arrived late at night in Rio de Janerio.

We woke up the next morning with great anticipation of visiting the Rio WYD13 offices to meet officials and to find out as much as possible about venues, transport, general logistics and accommodation possibilities in Rio.

We were warmly greeted by Renata Rodrigues (Editor In Chief WYD Rio2013), Gutavo Ribeiro (Manager for Cultural Events) and Fr Jefferson Gonzalves de Curaujo (coordinator of Mission Week). Bishop Dom Paulo Cezar Costa, the auxiliary Bishop of Rio, heads the group, which has currently over 30 fulltime staff working on WYD13.

Much information was processed and recorded, which will be invaluable for our pilgrimage and stay in Rio. Among many discussions, it was noted that 60,000 volunteers are expected to assist the WYD week (22nd to 28th July, 2013) with a name change from 'Days in the Diocese' to 'Mission Week'!


Bishop's representative WYD13 Rio, Fr Jefferson with Ian and Michael

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Ian Jordan


With 9 million people in the city of Lima, it is no wonder the traffic is chaotic, with drivers being the master of 'the nudge', as 4 and 5 lanes of traffic negotiate roundabouts!! It is a marvel to observe how the trafic flows with tact and diplomacy!!

On one of these journeys, Jorge Armas Calasich, the head of Caritas Lima-Vicaria de La Caridad and  Ricardo Ormeno (friend of Michael Digges and translater) took us to one of the poorest and disadvantaged areas of south eastern Lima, a place called El Agustino.

They call this shanty town, Pueblo Joven (Young Town).



This area houses over 70,000 of the very poorest and is in the Parish of Medalla Milagrosa. Parish Priest Fr Arthur (pictured), accompanied us on a (very priviliged) tour of the Parish, showing us the many wonderful initiatives he has instigated and established.


We saw schools, pre-school nurseries, vocational centres and housing which had a lasting impact on us all.

The families we met were wonderfully friendly, always welcoming and greeted us with warmth and hospitality. The children were a delight.

Michael and I have high hopes that our pilgrims will be able to work with this community.




The next day we set off to another area North of Lima, known as Pamplona alta. Again we saw deep poverty and social disadvantage, matched by an extraordinary spirit of people, welcoming and friendly.


The best part of the day was the visit to a school of disabled children called Alegria Senor, in the La Molina district.


These beautiful wonderful children welcomed us with hugs, smiles and warm greetings that brought tears to our eyes.

If ever our pilgrims could experience such moments then the connection would last a life time.

Phil Ryall, managing director of HarvestWYD Tours arranged this visit as an example of the types of mission experiences our pilgrims may encounter. This was most appreciated.


After meeting with representatives of the Dominican and Columban Orders tomorrow we fly to Rio! We have many exciting plans and possibilities.

More soon. 


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Ian Jordan


Critical to the Pilgimmages has been the careful focus on the logistics of managing a large number of people with accommodation, arrivals, departures, food and security.

A great deal of time has been spent in Iguazu Falls and Lima, visiting and reviewing suitable places that can not only cater for our number of Pilgrims but that have facilities to gather as one large group under cover (as in July in the average temperature is 5 to 15 degrees C!!) While this has not been easy, many properties were sourced, carefully inspected, with potential possibilities emerging. 

The last two days in Lima have been packed with discussions and visits to sites and projects that will be suitable for our pilgrims to have a meaningful, deeply rooted, heartfelt mission experience.

The many following images are amazing examples of the experiences that may lay ahead. 

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Day 5, Wednesday 14th March, was always seen as a day of high expectations being our first day in Lima!

Not only were these met but were an absolute highlight.

Our first stop was the church of de Santa Rosa De Lima (Saint Rose of Lima) who was canonised in 1671. We met a dominican priest and visited the crypt beneath the church which contained the holy relics of St Rose of Lima.  

Afterwards we visited the home of San Martin de Porres, whose canonization by Blessed Pope John XX111 in 1962, celebrates 50 years in 2012.

The visit to the Convento Santo Domingo was very special, particularly the University of Theology Library establised in the 1500's, where thesis were challenged and validated.

Had to be seen to be believed! Incredible. Again the pictures tell the story.



After contacting the Diocese of Lima, we were informed that the Cardinal of Lima, Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani, agreed to meet with us!

We were received at his private office and greeted us with warmth and hosptiality. The Cardinal spoke of his enthusiastic support of engaging our youth across the world, fostering a deeper encounter with Christ and  support of plgrimage initiatives on the lead up to WYD13.






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Ian Jordan


After attending mass at the Catherdral Senora del Carmen, celebrated by the Bishop Marcelo Mortarel of Puerto Iguazu, we set off to view Iguazu Falls.

Nothing could have prepard us for this amazing experience!

Put simply, we were both stunned by the God's wonder, nature and vision on the falls both on the Argentian and Brazilian sides. A truly remarkable 'one off' experience.

A delightful coincidence took place at the most famous site of viewing the Falls (called 'The Devils Throat'). A young couple offered to take our picture with the falls in the background.They turned out to be catholic orphanage volunteers from Sydney (one the former captain of Mary Mackillop Primary, South Penrith) and the other, Joshua Voysey, from St Thomas Aquinas, Primary, Springwood well known to Sue Walsh!!)

The following pictures tell the story!!

Off to Lima tonight with confirmation that we have been invited to meet with the Cardinal of Lima, Juan Luis Cipriani during our stay. Exciting times ahead.




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Santa Anna to San Ignacio


From Santa Anna Mission we travelled to San Ignacio Mini. In 1610, two Jesuit priests, Jose Cataldino and Simon Masceta founded this community as one of the 30 guarani (native) settlements in the area. Amazingly, they established and administered a 78 hectare site which accommodated up to 5000. The planning and vision was extraordinary and San Ignacio was one of the most outstanding Jesuit missions of those times.

Walking through the 'restored' ruins, you could not help but get a sense of what it was like then. The spirit is still alive in this place!



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Ian Jordan/Michael Digges


After an approximately 23 hour journey from Sydney (which included an 8 hour stop over in Buenos Airies to wait for a domestic flight to Posadas!!)  the weary travellers, Michael Digges, business manager for the Diocese of Parramatta and Ian Jordan, executive officer for WYD13, settled in for an early start the next morning to visit the Jesuit Guarani Missions. An unexpected highlight was to encounter the magnificent 360 metre high steel cross recently built for the faithful as an addition to the Santa Anna Mission.

This cross, Parque Tematico de La Cruz, has extraordinary sorrounds and vista that brings peace and tranquility, lends to meditation and prayer and was much enjoyed by Michael and Ian.

The Cross: Parque Tematico De La Cruz
The Cross: Parque Tematico De La Cruz


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