Countdown to World Youth Day is the EWTN live radio show from Rio de Janeiro. I was a guest on today’s show (audio player above).  

Elena Rodriguez is reporting live from the International Broadcast Center at Copacobana beach in Rio. Thom Price is her co-host at the EWTN studio in Birmingham, Ala. 

We talked about the 5,500 journalists registered for WYD, most of whom began to descend on Rio today. Elena interviewed Register correspondent Justin Bell at Christ the Redeemer statue. Justin described what it was like to travel with his group from Boston.

I talked about how the mood of WYD always changes when the Pope leads the Stations of the Cross. Prior to that moment, the event feels like a large outdoor rock-n-roll festival, but when pilgrims begin the Stations with the Pope, a new depth is entered — there’s a spirit of prayer and peace — because Jesus becomes the focus.

While Pope Francis lands in Rio today, July 22, he doesn’t join the pilgrims until Thursday, July 25, at a welcoming ceremony on Copacabana beach.  The Stations of the Cross are Friday afternoon. And that starts the most intense part of World Youth Day, which includes the pilgrimage to the open airfield, an all-night vigil and the concluding Mass.

Listen to today’s radio interview for a taste of the preparations and activities. Tune in to EWTN’s coverage at