Cumbernauld group get ready to see Pope Francis at Rio gathering

St Lucys Church, Father McAuley and 3 othe parishoner goping to Brazil for the World Youth Day
St Lucys Church, Father McAuley and 3 othe parishoner goping to Brazil for the World Youth Day

A GROUP from Cumbernauld has jetted out to Brazil for a global youth gathering which will attract two million visitors.

St Lucy’s parishoners Karen Gallagher, Jennifer Rowlinson and Elizabeth McFadden will be among a handful of Scots who flew to Rio de Janeiro for the trip of a lifetime, along with their parish priest Reverend Joe McAuley.

Their incredible journey will culminate in an all-night vigil in a field where they will be joined by the pontiff, on his first visit back to his native Latin America since becoming pope. Their first glimpse of Pope Francis will be at a giant mass celebrated on the legendary Copacabana Beach.

However, the group’s first stop will be in a host parish in Novo Friburgo 100 miles away from the city where they will spend a week as part of the community.

Father McAuley, who is a former lawyer from Dumbarton, said: “At the beginning of the following week we travel to Rio itself where we, with other pilgrim groups, stake our claim to a place on the floor in a school where we will be staying for the rest of the week.

“During this week the days will be taken up with prayer in the mornings and, in the afternoons the opportunity to take part in prayer and confession. There will also be many other events as different countries and language groups will celebrate the Christian faith reflecting their own particular cultures.

“It’s during that we will have the chance to meet up with some of the millions of others sharing the same journey of faith,’’ said Father McAuley.

“Meanwhile we are busy gearing up for the 12 kilometre hike to the field. There will be prayers and other events of a religious and social nature until early evening when the Holy Father will arrive to lead us in an hour of prayer,’’ he added.

The trip will end in true Brazilian fashion - with a couple of days at the beach.