Trip to Rio de Janiero inspires growth in faith

Campus Ministry will sponsor 25 Seton Hall students on a trip to Rio de Janiero for World Youth Day this summer.

The ministry has hosted meetings preparing the program’s travelers for the event.

According to its website, WYD is “a worldwide encounter with the pope” that is open to all young people wanting to take part in the festivities centered on Jesus Christ and organized by the Catholic Church.

WYD usually takes place every three years.

This year had only a two-year gap from the 2011 WYD in Madrid.

The gathering takes place in a different country each time.

Junior elementary and special education major Lauren Ferrara and freshman diplomacy major Charlene Oselador are among the students who will be attend WYD.

Both students said they are anxious and excited about going. Oselador said it is an event she has wanted to attend for the last couple of years.

“I want to experience something outside of my comfort zone,” Oselador said. “I want to help the people who need it most, and I want to experience other cultures. So, this trip is really an ideal way for me to branch out in many different directions.”

Ferrara said a life-changing experience influenced her to join the trip.

“Last January, I traveled with DOVE to El Salvador with an amazing group of people,” Ferrara said. “After traveling to a Third World country and experiencing the simple life that is lived there, I knew I would want to live my life traveling and experiencing everything this world has to offer.”

According to Oselador, WYD will start on July 23, but the delegation of students will arrive in Brazil about two weeks before to participate in missionary work.

“I have never been on a pilgrimage like this, and so I am not sure how I will deal with… sleeping on floors and probably getting somewhat dirty in the course of our projects,” Oselador said. “I expect it will all be well worth the difficulties.”

Ferrara said the group will travel to Rio with the Brothers of St. John to perform service in the communities and to work as Missionaries of Charity in neighborhoods while staying with local families and nuns.

“Every day we will pray and reflect on what we will be living, and finally, experience the joy of our faith and become closer to God with millions of other young people from all around the world,” Ferrara said.

The trip will conclude with an international spiritual retreat and the actual WYD proceedings, including a visit from Pope Francis.

Oselador and Ferrara both said they personally hope to grow in their faith and to help the people they meet on the journey.

“There are many goals for our trip: to grow spiritually in our love for God, to experience his love for us, to help the poor and broken of spirit, and to spread Christ’s message,” Oselador said. “More importantly, we are also there to have fun, to be among good company and to learn.”

Natalie Rebisz can be reached at

Author: Natalie Rebisz

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