Briar Bergner, left, with her friend Catherine at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. Together, they have attended the last three WYD gatherings.
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Briar Cliff junior Briar Bergner was among 3 million people who attended World Youth Day (WYD), July 23-28, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Held every third year, the worldwide Catholic youth gathering offers music, fellowship, an evening vigil and Mass celebrated by the Pope.
“The Pope’s message to young people is: ‘You are the church, and it’s your responsibility to lead others to Christ’,” said Bergner. “He tells us to spread the Word of God in a way that young people will understand.”
Bergner also attended WYD celebrations in Sydney, Australia, in 2008 and in Madrid, Spain, in 2011, and heard Pope Benedict XVI speak, at both events.
“All three [celebrations] were completely different from each other,” she said, crediting Pope Francis’ style as one of the main differences.
Pope Francis reminds her of Saint Francis of Assisi, who inspired many people to serve others.
“Pope Francis chose a very fitting name for himself because he really is a lot like Saint Francis!” she said. “When he told us that we need to serve others, not just in our free time but all the time – I was especially inspired. I already do a lot of service here at school and at home, but Pope Francis made me want to do even more."