World Youth Day Special With Joan Lewis and Father John Paul Mary Zeller

From left, Father Miguel, Doug Barry, Father Mark and Father John Paul at Corcovado.
From left, Father Miguel, Doug Barry, Father Mark and Father John Paul at Corcovado. (photo: Elena Rodriguez)

EWTN’s live radio show Countdown For World Youth Day, hosted by Elena Rodriguez and Thom Price, on Tuesday July 23 featured Joan Lewis reporting from Rome about the Pope Francis' departure for WYD, and his arrival and upcoming agenda in Rio de Janeiro.

In the second part of the show, Father John Paul Mary Zeller of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word and the Register’s Jeanette De Melo joined Elena in the studio in Rio.

Elena interviewed a Puerto Rican pilgrim, who accidently ended up being on the street when the Pope passed by coming from the airport. He had the blessed opportunity to see Pope Francis up close.

Father John Paul talked about how walking through Rio with his brown Franciscan habit has been a “pilgrim magnet.”

“What comes to mind,” he said, “is ‘Speak the Gospel always and when necessary use words.’ The habit says it all. We’ve given our lives to God.”  He described the encounters he’s had with pilgrims along the beach in Rio.

Jeanette spoke about how pilgrims of various nationalities are coming together in friendship and joy.  Jeanette recounted a story from Seth DeMoor of, who was on the streets when the Pope arrived.  On one side of the street were Brazilians, who is the largest group at WYD, on the other side of the street were the Argentinians, the second largest group.  These two soccer rivals of South America were chanting for the Holy Father expressing a united joy for his arrival.

Jeanette also spoke of meeting a Brazilian girl who will be dancing for the Holy Father.  The young dancer said she hopes the Holy Father likes her performance.  Jeanette asked her if she prays while she dances and she said, “all the time.” 

Listen to the show to hear about pilgrim experiences so far (audio is right under this article's title).