Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko made his remarks in Brazil before a group of delegates from 75 countries and 40 movements in preparation for the global youth event which will take place July 23-28 next summer.
“Let us live this time of preparation with joy and enthusiasm, despite the difficulties,” so that World Youth Day will not be “a fire lasting only a few days,” but instead “a long-term sowing that bears fruit for life,” the cardinal said.
Cardinal Rylko noted that Pope Benedict is following preparations “with particular attention,” and told the delegates that remain joyful in confronting their challenges, “in order to bring young people to Christ and to bring Christ to young people.”
During remarks to open the preparatory meetings on Nov. 26, Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta of Rio cited the words of Pope Paul VI at the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council and invited the delegates “to take up the flame of the faith and pass it on to your contemporaries.”
“Be missionaries yourselves first. Evangelize your friends,” he told them.
Mayor Eduardo da Costa Paes of Rio added that the vigil and final Mass for World Youth Day will be held at Guaratiba, which is west of the city and has room for two and half million people.
Organizers also announced that the event will include a vocations fair where over 158 movements and lay associations will introduce young people to their charisms. There will also be 200 stations for confessions, as well as a Eucharistic adoration tent.
The John Paul II Foundation for Young People, in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Rio, will also organize an art expo June 11 - Sept. 15 at the National Museum of Fine Art.
The president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity said he hopes World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro will have a lasting effect on the hundreds of thousands of young people slated to attend.