.- Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid, Spain expressed thanks to World Youth Day volunteers for their hard work and asked them to pray that it would not be “too hot” next week for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the city.
The cardinal made his remarks during a Aug. 9 Mass at the World Youth Day central office to welcome the thousands of international volunteers beginning to arrive in Madrid this week.
He told the 2,000 people in attendance he hoped it would not be “too hot” during the Pope’s visit so that everyone “can fully enjoy the event.” He also thanked the young volunteers for their willingness to experience World Youth Day as an act of service toward others.
During the Mass volunteers from numerous countries read excerpts of the Gospel in their own language and joined in the singing of hymns.
After the Mass, Cardinal Rouco visited with the more than 250 members of the event's staff.
Over the next several days, volunteers will be divided into small groups and stationed at specific areas throughout the city. Some 3,000 have been given first aid, evacuation and safety training. Young people in charge of helping those with disabilities have also received specialized training.
More than 28,500 volunteers will assist in World Youth Day from countries such as Poland, Italy, Mexico, France, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Slovakia, Croatia, Brazil, Portugal, the United States, Hungary, Argentina and Lithuania.