We have arrived in Rio de Janeiro! After two flights and a delay waiting for some other pilgrims to make their connecting flight, we arrived in Rio around noon today. Even on the flight, we began to get a sense of the worldwide gathering of pilgrims that is descending on the city – we met a young man, Antonio, from Lisbon, Portugal, three people from the island of Madeira, Portugal, the bishop of the Diocese of Honolulu with a group from his diocese, pilgrims from New York, Mexico, and many other places – just on our flight! Getting through customs and passport control in Rio was pretty easy, then we met our bus and tour guide for the week, Miriam. We drove to the Centro – or downtown – part of Rio, where we made our first pilgrimage stop at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Sebastian. There, the clergy in our group were able to pick up our clergy accreditation, and everyone was able to spend some time in the Cathedral. After the visit, we stopped for lunch at a place that has become the highlight of the trip so far – a traditional Brazilian barbeque buffet. We enjoyed many different kinds of delicious meat, plus a buffet of salads, sides, and desserts. After lunch, we made our way to Immaculate Conception Parish in the western suburbs of Rio – the hub for our local accommodations. We didn’t quite know what to expect there, but not only are we here to find our accommodations, but also thousands of other pilgrims from countries all over the world, speaking countless languages. Some of us are staying with host families, while others are staying in a local school. The process of assigning accommodations for so many people is quite an overwhelming task, and we think we can see some kind of order in the midst of the chaos! Later tonight, the local parish is hosting a welcome party for all the pilgrims staying in this part of the city, then I’m sure we will be ready for some well deserved sleep. For now, we are waiting to go to our accommodation sites. Everyone made it safe and sound, and we are excited for the adventure of faith that awaits us.

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