Last week, Pope Francis decreed a plenary indulgence for those who participate in World Youth Day (July 23-28), both for those going to Rio de Janeiro and for those of us back at home. What an incredible blessing! Along with the usual requirements of confession, Eucharist and prayer for the Holy Father's intentions, Pope Francis offers this opportunity if we "participat[e] in the sacred functions on the days indicated, following the same rites and spiritual exercises as they occur via television or radio or, with due devotion, via the new means of social communication."
Even if you cannot attend World Youth Day in Rio, there are still many ways to get involved. In addition to the indulgence requirements, here are 10 ways to respond to Pope Francis' invitation and celebrate World Youth Day at home:
- Pray in communion with WYD attendees by praying the Angelus on Friday, July 26, at noon and the Stations of the Cross at 6 p.m. and joining in a prayer vigil on Saturday, July 27, at 7:30 p.m. Rio time (11 a.m., 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Eastern time)
- Attend Mass throughout WYD. Mass times in Rio include Wednesday, July 24, Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28, at 10 a.m. (9 a.m. Eastern time)
- Watch WYD events via CTV. Visit news.va to see a full listing of broadcasts.
- Attend local WYD events hosted by dioceses throughout the United States. Visit usccb.org to find a list of events.
- Learn the flash mob dance being used to welcome Pope Francis to Rio. More than 2 million dancers will participate!
- Visit the News.va WYD page to find the latest information from Rio.
- Download the Rio2013 Official app for WYD for another way to stay in touch. It’s available for both iPhone and Android.
- Read and discuss Pope Francis' encyclical Lumen Fidei ("The Light of Faith"). You can find it at Vatican.va. Also check out commentary at osv.com.
- Use social media to follow and discuss what’s happening in Rio. Share with others how you are participating in World Youth Day. On Twitter, use the hashtags #WYD and #Rio2013. You can follow @Pontifex, @wyd_en, @OSV and more!
- Explore the blogosphere for firsthand accounts of World Youth Day.
Get an inside look at World Youth Day from Stephen Lenahan
Stephen Lenahan, a 26-year-old director of youth ministry at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta, Ga., will be blogging for Our Sunday Visitor from Rio throughout World Youth Day.
Stephen is a 2009 graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he studied theology and catechetics. Stephen’s experience includes four previous World Youth Days, working for the Steubenville Youth Conferences, being the youth minister at St. Anthony of Padua Church in The Woodlands, Texas, and speaking on behalf of LifeTeen Inc. in South Africa. He is also a very proud jet-setter as Brazil will be the 27th country he has visited since turning 18.
Stephen is a native of the southern United States calling Georgia, Tennessee and Texas all home. Recently he has begun to claim Alabama as well, because of his engagement in April to his sweet southern belle, Ann, who is from Birmingham.
Come back to OSV Daily Take throughout World Youth Day to get Stephen's inside look at what's happening in Rio. You can also follow Stephen on Twitter @SouthrnCatholic and Instagram.
Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.