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Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Cross and Black Coffee

Dude, I keep forgetting about ClipArt! #stockimages
I read an interesting blog post about Catholicism, suffering, and coffee from one of my favorite Catholic bloggers a long while ago. Essentially, to drink coffee black is to enjoy that which is not meant to be enjoyable. By way of analogy (and remember, analogies have limits), he parallels drinking coffee black and our worldview of suffering whereas the Church has a different view on suffering.

You can read the original blog post here:
Coffee When It Is Black by Marc Barnes, Bad Catholic

In life, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we know we'll suffer and thus bear a cross,. And let me tell ya, I've had my share of crosses to bear throughout my life thus far.

But I suppose I'm at a point in my faith where I can handle some of the crosses I bear like I am able to handle drinking black coffee. I used to be like most other people and add cream and sugar to my coffee. I'm pretty sure the workers at McDonald's know my mantra of "one cream and one sugar" as I stop by some mornings on my way to work. Ever since reading Marc's take on drinking black coffee and suffering, I've switched to drinking coffee black.

Now I'm learning to enjoy taking up my crosses. Beforehand, I think I tried sweetening my bad situations with optimism or adding creamer by distracting myself from its bitter tastes. But I never fully embraced my suffering by willingly taking up my crosses. I think I've always taken them kicking and screaming or tried to making it easier on myself through my own devices. Or really, just not keeping in mind of the One who helps carry my crosses. I'm pretty sure He's a pro.

I got to thinking about all this more given some current circumstances in my life. I don't want to give details, but I'll just say that I know myself well enough now to foresee that I will undergo despair and suffering given my current circumstances or the circumstances that I will find myself in.

I have had my crosses in the past, I have crosses now, and I will have crosses in the future.

My take away from all this is that black coffee, as I drink it nearly every morning, is a physical reminder that I should be prepared to suffer. Life doesn't always feel good. Suffering becomes an acquired taste. I cannot handle my crosses on my own so I look towards the One who showed us what it looks like to embrace suffering. One of the lines towards the end of the movie, The Passion of the Christ, is when one of the other thieves sentenced to crucifixion with Jesus asks Him, "why do you embrace your cross?" to which Jesus doesn't really reply but looks upon the thief with eyes of mercy despite His unfathomable suffering from incredible stress, being scourged, having a crown of thorns hammered into His head, and now carrying and embracing the wood that will be the instrument of execution.

It boggles the mind.

Yet! My suffering is not in vain because I know that, mysteriously, God allows suffering to bring about a greater good, and in the most definitive and exemplary event how He does this through His Passion and Death. Yet, He rises, and Death's sting has no power nor victory. We suffer on this earth in joyful hope that He will come again! O, how rich and deep!

But, in the meantime, as much as I don't want to, I need to embrace my crosses in aspiring imitation of His embrace of His cross that one Good Friday. Because it is worth the end.

No cream, no sugar. Challenge accepted.
- JD

This blog post was originally written over a year ago. And maybe I don't keep good track of my draft blog posts. And thus I've edited this post since then.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Not A Review on Elysium

The other weekend, I had the opportunity to go watch Elysium after much deliberation about what movie to go see with my parents.  Apparently we chose the wrong time of summer to go watch a movie because not a lot of blockbuster hits are out right now? And my parents weren't at all interested in watching Disney's Planes, much to my dismay as an aerospace engineering nerd.

Elysium tells the story of one man's desire to go to Elysium, which is a  futuristic, space habitat orbiting the Earth.  The setting of the story is in the far future, year 2154, where the poor and less fortunate live on Earth, and the rich and privileged live on Elysium.  To further emphasize that difference in wealth and living, the citizens of Elysium have access to wondrous technology, and guard it very closely. They live a luxurious, comfortable life whereas the people on Earth live a rougher life without access to the most advanced technology. And I'll leave it at that so as not to spoil the story.

Perhaps I'm just turning into a Catholic nerd, but I find it interesting to pick up on the use of anything Catholic in Hollywood movies recently.  I've seen hints of Catholicism either be part of the story or make a cameo in some movies like Skyfall, The Avengers, Les Miserables (ok, Catholicism really oozes out of this one), For Greater Glory, The Hobbit, etc. just to name a few.

In Elysium, I definitely picked up on the religious sister seen at the beginning of the movie.  She plays a role in the main character's life and is the vehicle to present the "overall theme" of Elysium's story (though I would say not as effective as it could have been, but this is not a review).

Seeing her against the setting of this futuristic world in Elysium provides a visual example of a reality that unfolds here in real life, beyond the silver screen, by the Catholic Church. And it kind of struck me in a way that helps me better fully appreciate my faith.

In the context of Elysium, the fact that it is set in the far future and that a religious sister is present shows that the Church will still be around. Even if we, all humanity, endure through tough times, the Church will still have a presence here on earth. In the real world, deeper study into the history of Catholicism shows that we've been around for the past ~2000 years (since the time of Christ), and what's another 2000 more? Just as we've seen many changes throughout the course of human history in the best of times and worst of times, the Church has been present. Cool stuff! Perhaps as long as there are humans walking around this earth and/or floating in space, there will be the Catholic Church on earth until the end of the age.

Secondly, not only did I see a religious sister present in the movie, but it is obvious in the context of the story that she looked after orphans.  In reality, I find it easy to associate religious with works of charity and service to others.  Religious brothers and sisters take those vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. I see many communities that also run apostolates and have certain charisms like running schools, hospitals, orphanages, crisis pregnancy centers, homeless outreach, media, and countless other ways to reach out to others. Also, the religious sister in Elysium was appropriately seen on Earth, where the poorer people and less fortunate live and not on Elysium where the privileged and elite reside. This further illustrates how, in reality, religious communities are more frequently found in poorer areas helping the poor.

I'm a fan of the Franciscans of the Renewal
Lastly, the religious sister says a line that seems to be one of the main themes of the movie. She says something to the effect of "never forget where you come from." This is important to the movie because of the main character's trying journey to Elysium. And I wish I could say more but that would spoil the story! In the real world, seeing a religious brother or sister becomes a sort of reminder for me that there is a God and that their life is a visible sign of what it means to know, love, and serve the Lord. Seeing them reminds me of where I come from--I come from God, created in His image and likeness. And as a response to His love and commands, there is a Church comprised of His Body. These are the Christians, specifically Catholics. Seeing that religious sister in the movie reminds me that I'm Catholic, and that I shouldn't forget that I belong to God and His bride, the Church.

Awesome stuff.

I find it interesting to gain better appreciation of my faith through cinema. Despite Elysium's shortcomings in plot development, it had cool visuals and action in addition to the presence of a religious sister that helped me better appreciate my faith. I only wish her dialogue involved any God-centered words, but I suppose her simple inclusion was enough for me.

Never forget.
- JD

Elysium movie poster // Wikipedia
Capuchin Franciscans of the Renewal Community // Franciscan Friars of the Renewal

Friday, September 20, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 14)

--- 1 ---
Being one who appreciates some change from time to time, I'm thinking about changing my blog's layout/theme/colors.  Again. Typically whenever this happens, I experiment with a few and end up returning back to this layout as you see it now...

We'll see what happens.  I just want something simplistic yet conveys what I'm going for. Who knows! Maybe this blog will look entirely or subtlety different for Quick Takes Vol. 15!

--- 2 ---
When I read the word, "flugtag", I don't usually think of energy drinks and aerospace. I see that word, and it carries a sort of German connotation that I'm totally unsure of its meaning.  But! Apparently flugtag is an event organized by Red Bull where competitors fly home-built, human-powered machines that have size and weight restrictions, usually from 30 feet up in the air into a lake.


And apparently there's a local one of these coming up this weekend. And now I finally understand what some of my coworkers were talking about when they decided to organize a flugtag team earlier in the year.  I just might go because I find it intriguing and the aerospace nerd in me delights in this idea of aerospace/aeronautical achievement...or failure.

Red Bull gives you wiings!...which also hopefully float. :-x

--- 3 ---
So maybe I taught a class briefly on leadership over the weekend that involved the Harlem Shake. Like, seriously. My main topic for leadership was "nurture your first followers" where I used the Harlem Shake as an example of what's missing from crazy leader to crazy crowd.  Because as you see below, solo to crowd happens instantaneously and that's not really how it works in real life.

Yes, we can learn from the Internets.

--- 4 ---
The iPhone 5S comes out today! I'm still rockin' the iPhone 4, and it's been a loyal piece of gadgetry over the past 3 years, but I think the time has come for an upgrade.  But! I just upgraded to iOS 7, which pretty much breathes fresh air into my iPhone 4. Like, with iOS 7, it feels like a totally new phone.

So why the 5S? Because I'm a tech geek and it's got good enough of guts to make it last a long while. I'm not looking to upgrade again until the 7S anyway =P

Regarding iOS 7...and my life is Catholic for this...but...I'm actually most excited about how you can stuff unlimited apps into folders now. Now I can store all my Catholic apps in one folder!

Very. Big. Deal. Because you know you're Catholic when your shelves don't have room for all your Catholic books and when your iOS folders don't have enough room for all the apps...

--- 5 ---
My dad's birthday was this past Thursday! I bought dinner at an Asian place that my brother suggested, and it was fairly good.

I didn't realize he's closely approaching 60 and that kind of made me do a double-take. Dang, we're gettin' older.

--- 6 ---
Tangent-ing towards talking about time, Fall is usually when I get super busy. There are two times a year that I tend to get super busy: around this time and around April-May. It's been that way since college...and even now post-college.  I kind of feel like everyone decides to do everything around this time. Ok, and maybe around this time football season starts...

But seriously! I have to check my calendar closely just to make sure I'm not triple-booking myself on weekends and even during the week.

However, I've made it easier on myself by removing myself from some things I've been involved with the past few years. I'm wanting to focus on other things at the moment...but...more on that later.

--- 7 ---
And because my World Youth Day and Brazilian experience still lingers, I made sure to take the opportunity to make rice and beans. So for lunch nearly every day that we were there, we hit up one of those pay-by-all-you-can-eat-per-lb sort of places. And that's where I got to taste Brazilian-style rice and beans. I've been meaning to make it since I've been back from Rio De Janeiro, but my schedule has been super unstable and crazy since then. However, I had the opportunity to squeeze in some cooking time this past Sunday and...

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tasty, tasty.
- JD

Red Bull Flugtag Returns To The Delaware River This Saturday, September 15 As 35 Teams Look To Defy Gravity With Their Human-Powered Flying Machines // Uwishunu

Monday, September 16, 2013

Scared to Die

Yesterday, going down the nursing home's hallway, I finally came up to her room and saw that the door was open. I knocked on the door out of courtesy but no response.  I enter quietly, and I see her there fast asleep.  I made a few attempts at calling her name in order wake her, and she eventually woke up. But she started crying as soon as she woke up.

I have the privilege of visiting nursing homes about once a month. Inspired to do this after doing a week-long service camp last summer, I am part of my parish's ministry to the sick at nursing homes. We visit Catholic residents at many of the local nursing homes in order to pray with them and to minister the Holy Eucharist to them so that they receive God in Word and Flesh because they normally don't have opportunities to go to Mass due to their current health situations. I've been doing this for about a year now, and just due to the nature of interacting with elderly and sick individuals, the reality of death is very apparent to me. But, on this particular visit to one of my usual residents, the reality of death was not something I, myself, personally related to in a profound way.

In the previous times I've interacted with her, she was coherent and very talkative and good-natured.  Sometimes she has short-term memory loss.  In recent reports from my fellow ministry volunteers, it seems as though her health has declined recently. Knowing this ahead of time, I wasn't sure what to expect upon arriving.

This happens frequently where I stop by a resident's room only to find them sleeping. And I usually make a few attempts to wake them up, and in her case this time, I was able to wake her. But like I said, she started crying.

I didn't know what to do but since she's a talkative one, I kind of waited for her to explain.  She kind of apologized for being a mess because had been crying a lot. And she said, in flowing tears, that she's scared to die. I didn't know what to say.

She further explained that she had a choking episode earlier in the morning.  Through this unfortunate experience, she realized she could have died had no one helped her. And after the fact, as I was dealing with this after the fact, the reality of death must have been ... totally real to her. 

I'm not gonna lie. I'm sensitive to death. And I nearly started tearing up out of sympathy for her because that's a certain kind of suffering that I can't totally fathom, but I understand. I mean, it's understandable to be scared to die. But since I've grown deeper into my Catholic faith, death for me personally is something less to be scared of, but I know that other people aren't at peace with the idea.

She went on for a bit expressing her fears, and I tried giving her some comforting gestures like pats on her shoulder and head and that's okay to be scared. I mentioned earlier that she has some mild short-term memory loss or has a short attention span. Thank goodness though, because I was half-expecting my interactions with her to be me having to listen to her cry for a long while.  But out of nowhere she stops crying and gets distracted by the TV that was on. That led to her noticing the verse of Scripture that someone had banner'd across the top of the wall above the TV:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)
She explained that she's glad that [whoever] had posted that on her wall because it helps her deal with what her fears. I then felt it appropriate to let her know of a quote by St. Augustine.  I only offered it because it's something that I've been reflecting on a lot lately, and it just somehow felt fitting to give her:
...our heart is restless until it rests in You. (from his Confessions)
The way I was understanding her fear of death was that it is out of anxiety and not being at peace with the idea of death. A sort of restlessness.  In my own life right now, I'm terribly restless and have only found peace by resting in God (usually through Adoration of the Holy Eucharist). And it's been a frequent reflection of mine for a long while now.

She really liked that quote. I'm not sure that she'll remember it, and I regret not having written it down for her, but I could tell that it did strike a chord with her.

After that, I offered to read her Sunday's Gospel reading, though I read the shorter version. These were the parables that Jesus told regarding the rejoicing of finding the lost sheep as well as the woman who lost one of her coins and rejoiced after she diligently searched for it and found it. Since I read the shorter version of Sunday's Gospel reading, it didn't include the fan favorite: the parable of the prodigal son.  She really liked hearing the Gospel that I read, and she even offered her own personal reflection (briefly) from the reading.

And we kind of got back into the conversation of being scared to die. To which I then asked her if she wanted to receive the Eucharist (because she sometimes doesn't).  She was a little hesitant because she let me know that she wanted to go to Confession as well.  Haha, she actually asked me if I could hear her confession, but I told her that I can't do that since I'm not a priest, but I offered to have a priest come visit her at some point sometime soon.  She very much liked that idea.

She ultimately decided to receive Jesus in the Eucharist because she felt that it would help her deal with her restlessness and fear regarding death.  So after humbly obliging to rinsing out her dentures at her request so that she could talk better and eat better, I was able to minister the Eucharist to her.

After she received the Eucharist, she was just incredibly grateful for my visit.  And she was just really grateful for us praying together and her receiving the Eucharist. By that point, I had to leave to go visit other residents, and I assured her that I would continue praying for her and that I would call our parish office to have a priest come by and visit to hear her confession.

I left her room feeling really grateful myself for having had this opportunity.  This was my first time talking about the reality of death with a nursing home resident. They're usually A) asleep, B) wanting to talk about other things or C) incoherent.  It just seemed really providential that it all worked out this way.

I was thinking just now how this little episode visiting her kind of ties in with this past Sunday's Gospel. Would a lonesome sheep not be scared that he is separated from the rest? The woman who lost her coin was probably scared because she lost something valuable.  The prodigal son was probably freaking out once he lost everything and was fearful in coming back home.  Yet, as Jesus shows us, there's much rejoicing to be had whenever the lost has been found.  And when we know this and take it to heart, we have nothing to fear, not even death itself.

I did call my parish earlier today, and a priest will be visiting her soon! :-)

Her name is Judy. Please pray for her! ...that she finds rest and peace in God and that whenever her hour has come, she's ready to come home.

- JD

The Return of the Prodigal Son (1773) // Pompeo Batoni, Wikipedia

Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 13)

--- 1 ---
I had the fortunate opportunity of going to see Audrey Assad in concert at a local Catholic university last weekend. She recently released her newest album, Fortunate Fall, and is touring around the country to promote her new album.

I have to say...I'm a fan! She's got such a pure voice and to hear her sing is always pretty awesome.  She performed her whole album plus a few crowd favorites from previous albums, and she ended the night with Matt Maher's, "Lord I Need You."

Uhhhh. Can't get better than that!

Oh yeah, this isn't my first time seeing her in concert. There was that one time that I got to see her in a private concert in a house, got to meet her, buy her previous two albums, and get them signed.

--- 2 ---
On Monday I took a "So you've never shot a handgun before" class. Groupon can be a dangerous thing, and it has led me down this path of firearms that I've previously ignored, but am now getting into it.  I think my previous skills and appreciation for archery, combined with my aerospace engineering skills, has increased my love of projectiles. And apparently handguns are the next step after Nerf guns. Oh and after airsoft guns too.

Don't worry. I've taken the time to educate myself on safety, Texas' gun laws, and all that jazz. And I have extreme malice towards so:
Not bad! 3 yards
--- 3 ---
Napping in my car is now a bad habit. 60-mile commute to work, one-way...and carpooling has been a difficult thing as of late.  Therefore, I have mastered the art of the 10-minute nap so that I'm not falling asleep at the wheel...

Travel-sized pillows are a blessing. And once again...Groupon strikes again! ...because a memory foam travel pillow is that much nicer, especially at discounted price. ;-)

--- 4 ---
But all that napping is due to all that overtime-ing. Things have been hectic at work since I've gotten back from Brazil.  Like, mandatory 10 hours of overtime per week for nearly all of August! Pulling a near 12-hour day plus the commute for several weeks has burnt me out, and the only consolation is that glorious 10-minute nap before work in random parking lots.

Though...all that overtime has been nice. But then I severely lack...time. >_>

--- 5 ---
A good way to de-stress from overtime-ing is to laugh. And I literally LAUGHED OUT LOUD for several minutes like a crazy psycho maniac at this video:

So simple! So hilarious-for-some-irrational-reason!

...and I haven't even delved into the variations on this theme of a waffle falling over!

...I could easily overtime on YouTube for the sake of falling waffles...

--- 6 ---
It's always awkward to have a conversation with a dental hygienist. Well, clarification. It's always awkward to have a conversation with a dental hygienist while they are currently cleaning your teeth. But luckily this past week, I didn't really have to maintain any sort of conversation while I felt the picks and pokes and gentle turns of the brush-drill with the instant flow of water out one nozzle and into the other.

Actually, the most intriguing conversation I had with my dental hygienist was just before she lowered the chair.

Chocolate covered bacon...served with cheese.

-Spanish accent- Repite.

Chocolate covered bacon...served with cheese.

But it was a conversation on the start of football season which ultimately led to the greater conversation of football food traditions.

Though the conversation was short. I ...don't have any football food traditions...unless it's me serving concession stand food along with my fellow Filipinos at a Texas A&M home football game. A bucket of popcorn is exciting stuff. But I didn't get a chance to talk about that with my hygienist because I was already under the lamp.

And the whole time...I was very much intrigued at the idea of ruining my cleanly fresh teeth to have but a taste of chocolate covered bacon...served with cheese.

I must save this idea for future reference.

--- 7 ---
Speaking of football, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Cowboys play last Sunday. Sundays are always busy for me in that I'm usually running around doing stuff for my ministries.  But it was nice to chill after all that was over by going to a fellow volunteer's house to watch the Cowboys play the Giants.

Nevermind that he had a 115" (projector) screen, his couch was comfy, an oversized ottoman was conveniently located near my feet, and a cold adult beverage was served.

And it was glorious!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

- JD

Chocolate covered bacon // Samantha Food Culture, Blogspot

Monday, September 9, 2013

To where shall we go after PP closes?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 12)

--- Preface ---
I must first begin these 7 Quick Takes with a preface.  First of all, I have been away from doing 7 Quick Takes for two months now. I got really busy in July and then World Youth Day happened... 

...August was spent focusing on other things and random blog posts that felt right to do at the moment. But alas, two months later, I realized that "wow! I haven't done 7 Quick Takes in two months!"  So now here we are!

As a fun way to get back into it and to share the awesome moments of my having gone to World Youth Day, I'd like to share my top 7 moments of World Youth Day 2013 in Rio De Janeiro.  

--- 1 ---
Adoration at Copacabana Beach.  This was probably by far the coolest part! I have never seen such dense concentration of human beings occupying the same space, and not only that...but for a Catholic purpose and reason!

It was a challenge to stake out a spot on the beach, but luckily my group go there early enough to enjoy some sandy space.  We were, what I would estimate to be, like 5 or 6 football fields away from the stage or the 2nd to last big screen out of the 25 lined up for the prayer vigil.

I actually didn't catch the start of Adoration because I was caught up in other distractions (and I don't think the big TV screens even showed it starting). But I figured it out once I started seeing people kneeling.

The two things that really stick out to me regarding Adoration with Pope Francis on that beach with 3 million others was the profound silence after Pope Francis asked for some moments of sacred silence. Like, seriously. Mountains bowed down and the seas roared, a helicopter buzzed around, but the beach full of pilgrims was silent. And that really was something.  I talk about it here in my blog post, The Silence of Millions.  The other thing that stood out to me was Matt Maher leading praise and worship during Adoration when he sang, "Lord I Need You."  It was incredibly fitting for the moment since he was singing that song on his knees, and the lyrics expressed everyone's sentiment before the Blessed Sacrament. How often do Christian singers get to sing to Jesus, literally?

--- 2 ---
Close papal encounters of the extra-ordinary kind. Our first day in Rio was the Monday before all the events for World Youth Day happened. Apparently Pope Francis decided to arrive early to speak with political dignitaries and stuff like that. I don't think most people knew he was in town. We didn't know he was in town.

But we were walking back to our hostel that first night...we saw the beginnings of a motorcade pass by. And then lo and behold! IT WAS POPE FRANCIS IN A NON-POPEMOBILE VEHICLE WAVING AT US AS HE PASSED BY!
...and I totally missed it because I didn't make it to the street on time to record it with my camera. But I caught some reaction as well as the World Youth Day Cross and Image of Our Lady pass by.

The next time we encountered Pope Francis was later in the week when he led an Angelus at the cardinal palace.  My group caught wind that he would be there and basically camped out all morning in order to get some pretty awesome front row standing room.

And the last extra-ordinary encounter with Pope Francis was when he was on his way to the prayer vigil. A trip to the porta-potty involved lots of waiting in line. But the fruits of our waiting was not only met with relief but Pope Francis passing by in a motorcade! And YES! I did record it this time!

I would say all these moments were extra-ordinary because they really weren't like...the ordinary ways for everyone to see him. It was all about being in the right place at the right time. ;-)

--- 3 ---
Matt Maher, in concert. Him coming to World Youth Day was a rather last-minute decision/invitation. Even Matt himself posted about him coming like...back in June. Our group leaders purposely tried to figure out when and where he would be for these concerts.

I'm a fan of his music and his hits are a crowd favorite at my parish!

And so, on a dark and rainy Wednesday night after enduring a long bus trip to the venue and enduring a game of "Where's Matt Maher?!" at the venue, we were finally able to enjoy his musical stylings. Up. Close. And. Nearly. Personal. :-O

What was really cool was pretty much being the only English speakers present when he gave that concert that night along with our hostel-mates and neighboring diocese friends.

Yes, I recorded that too.

--- 4 ---
Party in the streets! I can't even begin to tell you how awesome Brazilian people are and much awesome Brazilian Catholics are! They are just so full of joy and fervor! And they were so welcoming to us all!

Our first night (before seeing Pope Francis but after going up to Christ the Redeemer), we found ourselves in a dance party in the streets with a bunch of Brazilians. It involved pretty much any groups of pilgrims that passed by!

Yes, that was recorded as well...

This really helped set the tone of the joy that we would experience throughout the rest of the week in encountering our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ for World Youth Day!

--- 5 ---
Praying and singing with England. There were three groups staying the hostel that we stayed in for World Youth Day: us, our friends from a neighboring diocese from back home, and a group from England.  Our paths would cross every now and then, but I think one of the best highlight moments with them was being able to pray with them, go to Mass with them, and we totally had one night where we just did nothing but praise and worship.

Why yes, I recorded some of that, too!

--- 6 ---
Seeing my people! I don't mean to be stereotypical, but I think it's not too far fetched to think that most Filipinos are Catholic. And so, during my whole time in Rio, I expected to run into a lot of Filipinos. But, that didn't really happen.

And that's why I got really, really, really irrationally excited when I found groups of Filipinos randomly throughout Rio.  There was that one time I saw a small group of Filipinos, but they were from Libya...which that still counted.

But the coolest encounter I had in seeing my fellow Filipinos was that one time we tried to go to Mass, but ended up going to Adoration with a basilica full of Filipinos! YES!!!

I had to take a picture.

--- 7 ---
On top of the mountains! Our first day in Rio (gosh, that was a really epic day...), we went up to see Cristo Redentor, or the Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks the city of Rio De Janeiro on Corcovado mountain.

It was kind of cloudy up there so you couldn't really fully appreciate the fullness of the statue because of the clouds.  A cool experience we had up there was having the random opportunity to go to Mass in the tiny chapel beneath Jesus' feet.  Our friends from the neighboring diocese conveniently had a priest with them who was willing to celebrate Mass. :-)

And on our last full day of being in Rio, our group had the option to go up the Sugar Loaf Mountains or back to Copacabana Beach for some ocean time. I decided to go to Sugar Loaf to get some good pictures. Or something.

Such great views! And we had gotten in line in the middle of the afternoon, but it worked out that we were heading up the mountain right at sunset and dusk so we were able to see some breathtaking views of Rio De Janeiro at night.

You can check out my #Rio2013 posts by clicking on the label: Rio 2013.  And I kept a blog for my group, and you can find that here: SEAS & St. Thomas Aquinas at WYD '13.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Did any of you go to World Youth Day 2013 and blog about it? I'd love to read/hear about it!

Ad Jesum per Mariam,
- JD

Adoration //