Jul 28, 2014 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After nearly two years of preparation, Father José Almy Gomes, 40, almost wasn’t ready for Pope Francis’ World Youth Day pilgrimage to Rio de Janeiro.
A student at Rome’s Patristic Institute Augustinianum from 2003 to 2007, Fr. Almy was the pastor of St. Dominic’s in Perdizes – a rural neighborhood of São Paulo. He worked from June 2011 to August 2012 organizing a group of over 100 international pilgrims, including 20 Americans, for a three-week Catholic dream experience: seven days of tourism and cultural immersion in São Paulo, a week of mission work in Rio’s favelas, and seven days of WYD celebration on Copacabana Beach.
His only hope, for the sake of the project’s success, was not to be transferred before then.
But in February 2013, fewer than five months before WYD, Rio’s Archdiocese of St. Sebastian came calling. Fr. Almy was directed to Our Lady of the Rosary parish – just two blocks from where Pope Francis would stand on Copacabana Beach.
Shaken by his transfer, Fr. Almy faced the immediate challenge of building his new parish’s volunteer efforts almost completely from scratch.
“We had just one volunteer signed up when I arrived,” he said in Portuguese, his native language. “World Youth Day just didn’t seem very important here.” …
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