Canada sending 6,000 to World Youth Day
A group of Canadian youth at WYD 2008 in Sydney, Australia
A group of Canadian youth at WYD 2008 in Sydney, Australia

.- A contingent of 6,000 Canadian Catholics will attend World Youth Day in Madrid, where they will hold their first ever national celebration at the global Catholic event.

Spanish dioceses will help host 2,500 of the young Canadians and help them in their various cultural activities, visits to tourist sites, festivities, prayer events and celebrations.

Canadian pilgrims will gather in Madrid on Aug. 16 for their national celebration at a World Youth Day. Their meeting at Madrid’s Palacio de Deportes will include a special Morning Prayer, music and testimonies from young Canadians.

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., of Ottawa will preside at the celebration. Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton will greet the assembly on behalf of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, which he serves as vice-president.

Graham Shantz, Canadian Ambassador to Spain, and Francisco Pascual de la Parte, the Spanish Consul General to Canada, will attend the gathering, according to the Canadian bishops’ conference.

The Knights of Columbus and the Sisters of Life have partnered with Canada’s Salt and Light Television and Holy Cross Family Ministries to provide a “Love and Life Site” rest area at the Palacio de Deportes.

Twenty-four Canadian bishops and nearly 100 priests and 30 seminarians will be part of Canada’s World Youth Day delegation.

Five Canadian bishops will serve as catechists for the young pilgrims, three in French and two in English. They will teach on the World Youth Day theme “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith.”

Around one million pilgrims are expected to attend the event from Aug. 16 to 21. The Italian delegation numbers about 90,000 while Spain’s numbers 83,000. France is sending 50,000 pilgrims, the U.S. is sending 30,000, while Germany is sending 16,000 and Australia is sending 4,300.

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