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TOPEKA, KS — It is not an experience that many people get to have, hear the Pope talk to the masses for World Youth Day. One young Topeka Woman got to attend the pilgrimage in Rio de Janeiro.
One young member of the Mater Dei parish in Topeka, was able to hear Pope Francis’ message to young people, and she is bringing the Pope’s message back to Topeka.
“It was something that I had been thinking about for a long time, but never thought I would have the opportunity to do so,” said Anna Hall.
For a month, Anna Hall walked the same streets Pope Francis once called home in Argentina, she traveled to Rio de Janeiro and was among the 3 million who came to hear him speak in his native tongue.
“Being able to know that he is the leader of our church and that he wants to take the time to come and speak to the young people of the church was just moving for me,” said Hall.
Every three years young Catholics travel from across the globe for World Youth Day, to hear the Pope speak on a theme. This year, his first, Francis spoke about humility, and inspired Anna.
“He said vaya con Dios sin miedo, so go with God without fear, and then he said servir, to serve, and so those were three of the words that really resonated to me,” said Hall.
Anna has been going to Mater Dei Parish in Topeka since she was a toddler.
And while she heard the Pope speak, she was not forgotten here at home, her mother says.
“I think they too felt like me, like a little bit of them was there and our little small town home parish got to go there and be with the Pope and on this pilgrimage,” said Renee Hall, Anna’s mother.
Anna says the message she heard in Brazil will stay with her forever.
“The desire to live more simply, and so that’s something that I really desire to like incorporate in the way that I live now that I’ve come back,” Anna said.
Anna will continue to take the Pope’s message to the University of Illinois in Chicago this year as a Campus Missionary.