Fr. Patrick Rogers, S.J., began gauging student interest for the World Youth Day trip that will take place in July at an information session Wednesday night.

Roughly 10 students attended the session.

“I chose to go to the information session because they talked about it in church, and it sounded like an interesting program that I might want to participate in,” Christina Wind (MSB ’16), a student who attended the information session, said. “I would be applying but … it’s too large of a time commitment, so I can’t apply.”

Georgetown is affiliated with two programs that allow students to travel around the world and learn about social justice, World Youth Day and the Magis Immersion and Justice Program, which are service learning trips for students from Jesuit universities around the world.  This year’s participating Georgetown students will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for both trips, which begin July 12 and end July 28.

It is important for Georgetown students to experience the larger church and to deepen their love for the Ignatian charisma that is already part of Georgetown,” Rogers, the trip coordinator, said.

While Georgetown has not been given an official number of spots for both trips, Rogers said the university should be able to take at least 10 students and two chaperones.

The World Youth Day trip is funded exclusively by donations.  All participants are required to make personal appeals to friends, family and their home parishes in order to fundraise. Rogers said that this year he plans to appeal to university donors, departments and schools to raise money.

“This is a pilgrimage, and as a pilgrimage, we raise the money ourselves, and that means that we have to be dedicated as a group to doing fundraisers,” Rogers said at an information session about the event Wed. “We rely on the generosity of other people.”

World Youth Day takes place once every three years. In 2011, students traveled to Madrid, Spain, and in 2008, they travelled to Sydney, Australia. This year’s World Youth Day was moved a year early to 2013 so it did not interfere with the 2014 World Cup, which is also being held in Rio.

Richard DeMarco (COL ’16), who attended the World Youth Day pilgrimage in 2011 with his high school, said he hopes to go to Brazil with the Georgetown delegation in July.

“I just had such a great experience that I really would love to go again if I’m given a chance,” DeMarcosaid.

DeMarco said his group participated in Catholic masses, which were held in multiple languages every day, an overnight vigil and even saw Pope Benedict XVI.

“The overnight vigil is … where all the people that are there go and spend the whole night … praying in adoration,” DeMarco said. “Being together as a giant Catholic body [is] a real powerful symbol — to realize all these people are here for the same reason as you and you’re all the same in your faith.”

Rogers said that participants will not stay in hotels while on the pilgrimage but will instead live modestly and sleep in gyms with other student travelers.

“When I went with my high school, we stayed in hotels most of the time, but this aspect of it with Georgetown is more like a pilgrimage, and you live on a much lower standard … that almost seems to be a very different view of how we live our life throughout it, so I’m interested to see how that would affect me as well,” DeMarco said.

Rogers chaperoned the past two World Youth Day pilgrimages and will accompany the students to Brazil again this summer.

“My biggest enjoyment and the biggest benefit I’ve gotten is accompanying the wonderful students we’ve had go on these trips,” he said. “And they’ve been all just really beautiful young women and men,” he said. “To be able to share our faith together in that context — I know it’s been life-changing for them, and it’s certainly been life-changing for me, and that’s the blessing that rocks my world. It’s awesome.”

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