by Jay Soldner
Special to The Leaven
The Leaven’s photographer Jay Soldner talked with Rhiannon Good of Christ the King Parish in Topeka about her World Youth Day experience.
Q. Why did you go to World Youth Day?
A. Because my mom went in Denver [in 1993]. And she said it was a really fun experience, so I wanted to go to bond with her and deepen my faith a little bit.
Q. Can you tell me about a time on the trip when a person’s kindness made a difference for you?
A. Our host family on our first night, when we had just gotten into Lisbon and everyone was getting dropped off at the schools, we got to their home and they had made us this full, big dinner — a home-cooked meal. It was just amazing.
Q. What was the biggest challenge for you personally on the trip?
A. Keeping a positive attitude when anything got hard, like walking and sweating and being hot. Just offering it up and being, like, it’s part of the experience. So, just trying to stay positive through that.
Q. Is it too early to name a highlight of the trip for you?
A. Our group from Christ the King . . . we all went to Santarem. We asked if we could go see [the host] up close, and they let us go see it, and I was face-to-face with the eucharistic miracle. That was the highlight.
Q. If you could replay your favorite memories from Portugal, what would they be?
A. Playing Uno with our host family. They had little kids, and every night, they would ask us to play Uno. No matter where we were, no matter how we were feeling, we always said ‘yes,’ and it was so much fun.
Q. How was the trip different than you might have imagined going in?
A. Going into it, I don’t even know what I expected. But it just blew me away when we were there, seeing everyone. I went into it kind of thinking it’s going to be really cool, we’re going to be in big groups, we’re going to do a couple things. But no, we got there, and it was go, go, go, and it was a lot of fun.