8 local students headed to 2013 World Youth Day

Catholics carry the World Youth Day cross and icon as they prepare to celebrate Mass at Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro July 17. More than 320,000 registered pilgrims have begun arriving in Rio to take part in the main World Youth Day program with Pope Francis July 23-28. (CNS photo/Ricardo Moraes, Reuters)

Catholics carry the World Youth Day cross and icon as they prepare to celebrate Mass at Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro July 17. More than 320,000 registered pilgrims have begun arriving in Rio to take part in the main World Youth Day program with Pope Francis July 23-28. (CNS photo/Ricardo Moraes, Reuters)

Eight college students from parishes in the Archdiocese of Louisville headed to Brazil early this week in advance of World Youth Day with Pope Francis July 23-28.

They are part of a 16-person delegation from the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Campus Center of Western Kentucky University. The group departed July 15 to begin “mission week” in São Paulo, Brazil. They are staying with host families in a host parish and taking part in cultural- and service-oriented activities.

On Monday, July 22, the group will travel six hours by bus to Rio de Janeiro where the World Youth Day events will take place. Events include an opening Mass at Copacabana Beach on July 23, daily Mass and catechesis sessions July 24-26 and Stations of the Cross July 26. The celebration will conclude with an all night vigil and closing Mass with Pope Francis July 27-28.

The eight students from the Archdiocese of Louisville and their parishes are: Zach Coots of the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto Cathedral, Bardstown, Ky.; Imari Hazelwood and Maggie Smith of St. Augustine, Lebanon, Ky; Jacob Martin, St. Catherine, New Haven, Ky.; Sarah Rogers of St. Aloysius, Shepherdsville, Ky.; John and Matt Sohl of St. Luke; and Olivia Walker of St. Martin of Tours.

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