.- Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko welcomed the more than 500,000 young people who flooded the Plaza de Cibeles at the World Youth Day Madrid 2011 opening Mass on Aug. 16.
âThe day we have all been waiting for has arrived,â Cardinal Rylko, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, said. âAfter a long path of preparation you are finally here in Madrid, a beautiful modern city that will be the world capital of Catholic youth for the next few days...â
The cardinal reminded all those present that the motto for World Youth Day 2011 is âPlanted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith.â He said that this reflection âis very demanding because it contains a definite life plan for each one of us. Faith will be at the center of our reflection at this time. Faith is a decisive factor in each personâs life.â
âEverything changes according to whether God exists or not. Faith is like a root that is nourished by the lifeblood of the word of God and the sacraments. It is the foundation, the rock on which life is built, the dependable compass that guides our choices and gives clear direction to our lives.â
To those who ask if it is âpossible to have faithâ in todayâs day and age, young adults must know that âfaith is possible. It is in fact a wonderful adventure that allows us to discover the magnitude and beauty of our lives. This is because God, revealed in the face of Christ, does not put human beings down. God exalts us beyond all measure and beyond our wildest imaginings!â
âAs we await the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI,â the cardinal continued, âwe have welcomed a special guest this evening to (World Youth Day) in Madrid. Blessed John Paul II has come back to you, the young people that he loved so much, and who was equally loved by you. He has returned as your blessed patron and as a protector in whom you can trust. He has returned as a friend â a demanding friend, as he liked to call himself.â
âHe has come to say to you yet again and with much affection: Do not be afraid! Choose to have Christ in your lives and to possess the precious pearl of the Gospel for which it is worthwhile giving everything!â
The cardinal concluded by welcoming the crowd to Madrid.