The excitement of attending World Youth Day became disappointment for 24 Catholics in the diocese of Green Bay after learning the agency overseeing arrangements to Brazil claimed bankruptcy.
World Youth Day 2013
Blessed John Paul II rallied young Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI instructed them and Pope Francis is preparing to send them out on mission.
In 2011, Luis Martinez, 29, traveled to Madrid, almost by accident. He said it was destiny that took him from his home in Fresnillo, Mexico, as a pilgrim to World Youth Day. Someone could not go at the last minute, and he ended up taking the spot.
James Kelliher, 27, was also there, visiting from London. He said his country can be "aggressively secular," something that challenges him to think about what he believes and ultimately landed him in Madrid among millions of young Catholics from all over the world.
Look for strong turnout, robust media interest and unscripted moments when Jorge Mario Bergoglio makes his first trip abroad as Pope Francis when he arrives in Brazil in late July, according to a Brazilian writer and academic.
In the archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro, final preparations are underway for the 2013 World Youth Day with Pope Francis July 23-28 around the sprawling Brazilian city.
All Things Catholic: In two months, the pope will attend his first World Youth Day, and John Allen lays out four challenges awaiting him on his arrival.
Members of the local organizing committee for World Youth Day say with the recent election of an Argentine pope, they expect up to 2.5 million young people at the international event in Rio de Janeiro.
"We currently have 200,000 pilgrims already registered, but registrations go on until the last day of the event," said Carol de Castro, press coordinator for the local organizing committee. She said the committee expects 800,000 pilgrims to have registered by the start of the event, which runs July 23-28.
When hundreds of thousands of young Catholics gather with Pope Francis in Rio de Janeiro in the summer, reflections on safeguarding the environment will be part of the program.
Like earlier editions of World Youth Day, the July celebration in Rio de Janeiro will include morning catechetical sessions and afternoon cultural events.
Hundreds of thousands of pre-Lenten Carnival-goers diverted their attention from the festivities to pay attention to the news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation.
National television networks halted their coverage of the four-day festival Monday to dedicate most of the morning broadcasts to the news coming from the Vatican and reactions from Brazilians.
Organizers of the World Youth Day 2013, set for July 23-28 in Rio de Janeiro, said plans will continue as scheduled even though the identity of the new pope would not be known for several weeks.