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Cardinal of Rio de Janeiro: You can still be holy if you dance samba or surf

2015-03-19

Pope Francis visited Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil a year and a half ago.

The Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro said the Pope's visit left an indelible mark on the area because of his powerful message to young people.

POPE FRANCIS
"Dear young people, please, don’t be observers of your life, but get involved. Jesus did not remain an observer, but he immersed himself. Don’t be observers, but immerse yourself in the reality of life, as Jesus did.”

CARD. ORANI JOÃO TEMPESTA
Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
"Young people can love surfing and singing while still keeping God close to their hearts. They can bear witness to him and provide an example of the Christian life.”

During the summer of 2013, thousands of young people attended an exhibition on the life of a seminarian and Brazilian surfer named Guido Schäffer. He was known on the beaches of Brazil as the "surfer Angel.” Schäffer is now in the process of beatification.

CARD. ORANI JOÃO TEMPESTA
Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
"It's a beautiful testimony for other young people. Rio de Janeiro is known for sports and samba. It also should be known for the holiness of its people, like that young man."

He studied medicine and offered the very poor and sick care. Ultimately, he decided to become a priest. While in the seminary, he continued surfing and discussed God with his peers.

Guido tragically drowned in 2009 while surfing on the Barra da Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro. Those who knew him say that he helped everyone, not just the poorest: from the doorman to the rest of the young surfers. Guido made no distinctions when helping people. That quiet holiness is what prompted the archdiocese to seek sainthood for him.
 
CARD. ORANI JOÃO TEMPESTA
Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
"In the end, we heard from all those young people who liked to be with Guido. So we opened the process. God willing, he will be beatified and canonized at the end of this process."

The Cardinal says Guido's vocation has inspired many young people, but he acknowledged that there are many challenges for youth and the Church in Brazil in the days ahead.


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