Locals return from World Youth Day in Brazil

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Updated: 7/31/2013 12:16 am
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Nearly 50 young people from northern Nevada are home after what they're calling the trip of a lifime to South America.

These kids joined about 3 million others from across the globe - and Pope Francis himself - in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to celebrate their faith as a part of World Youth Day, after a week-long mission trip.

"It was really amazing to see all the different people from all the different countries," Michael Skowronek said.

Skowronek is one of about 50 young Catholics from northern Nevada who made a pilgrimage to Brazil for World Youth Day.

"You meet all these different people," he said. "You take a million pictures. It's just it's amazing."

Youth Minister Marina Hedwall was with the kids on the trip, and said pictures aren't the only things she'll take away from the experience.

"Just this immense amount of joy and peace to take away and not be so distracted with everything that's going on," she said.

Not to mention they'll have the memory of seeing the Pope give mass in person.

"We were fortunate to see him up close for four or five days," Hedwall said.

"You're within 30 feet of the leader of the church," Skowronek said. "It's unbelievable."

They said the Pope kissed babies and prayed with the sick, but that wasn't the best part about seeing him up close.

"He was very human and it was beautiful to witness," Hedwall said.

"He's really the people's pope, and it was just great to be able to pray with him and everyone else in so many different languages," Skowronek said.

Skowronek said he thinks Pope Francis enjoyed the events as much as the people did.

"The look on his face, you could tell it was just pure joy," he said.

World Youth Day has been celebrated across the globe every two to three years since 1986. During his final mass of the week, Pope Francis announced that the next World Youth Day will be in Poland in 2016.
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