By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — 21 young people from the Philadelphia Archdiocese are on their way to Rio de Janeiro, to join with millions of Catholics for World Youth Day.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Flooding In Philadelphia Area As Nor'easter Dumps Rain On Region
The pilgrimage began with Mass at Saint David Church in Willow Grove.
Then 21 area young people left on a weeklong journey to Rio, to meet with other young Catholics from around the world.
24-year-old Jermaine Bantum of St. Benedict’s in Germantown expects it to be a life-changing experience.READ MORE: WATCH LIVE: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy To Give Storm Update
“I’m pretty sure it’s going to give me a better understanding of who I am as a person and as a Black Catholic,” Bantum said.
The trip culminates Sunday with a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis, says Beth Riordan, the Archdiocese director of Youth Ministries.
“We’re especially excited about meeting the new Pope, and he does so many things off the cuff so we’re ready for lots of surprises,” Riordan said.
The young people will pray, volunteer and tour holy sites in Brazil during their journey.MORE NEWS: Crashes, Wet Roads Plaguing Philadelphia Area On Tuesday Commute