A Brazilian bishop and top organizer revealed today that Copacabana Beach and the Santa Cruz Air Base will be the venues for the main events of World Youth Day Rio 2013.
The global youth event will take place July 23-28 next summer, which Pope Benedict XVI is expected to attend.
During a press conference, Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta said Copacabana will be the venue for the opening Mass, the welcoming ceremony with the Pope and the Via Crucis – the event's traditional Way of the Cross procession.
The Santa Cruz Air Base, on the western side of the city, will be the venue for the vigil on July 27 and the closing Mass on July 28, where some two million young people are expected to gather. Operated by the Brazilian Air Force, the base covers an area of nearly 3.5 square miles.
Accompanied by his auxiliary bishops, Archbishop Tempesta was in Rome yesterday to meet with officials at the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who approved the venues for the event.
“We will begin the main events under the protection of Mary – Copacabana Beach is named after Our Lady of Copacabana – at the place where large events have traditionally been held in Rio de Janeiro and that will now have the privilege of hosting these events and welcoming young people from all over the world,” he said.
Archbishop Orani said he has invited the Pope to visit the Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks the city and to hold a gathering at Maracana Stadium with the nearly 60,000 volunteers expected to participate in WYD.
Asked about whether confessions would be heard in specific place similar to what organizers did in WYD Madrid 2011, Father Arnaldo Rodrigues of the organizing committee said the Madrid model would not be possible but that confessions would be heard at various venues across the city. He also said the locations of the catechetical sessions have also yet to be determined.
The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro also said it would ask city officials to allow the Shrine of Christ the Redeemer to remain open around the clock to accommodate the constant flow of pilgrims.