.- World Youth Day organizers in Spain announced yesterday that they are expecting some two million to attend the international youth event in 2011, a number “ten times greater than the Olympic Games.”
WYD 2011 Director of Communications, Yago de la Cierva, said Pope Benedict would be welcomed at the Cibeles Square in Madrid, where he will celebrate the opening Mass. Madrid's Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon said the Mayor’s office building would be turned into “the great sacristy of Madrid” for the one thousand bishops expected to concelebrate.
On Friday, the Way of the Cross will take place along the city's famous thoroughfare the “Paseo de la Castellana,” where the fourteen stations will be decorated with renowned artistic pieces. The city’s central park, known as “Parque del Retiro,” will host the “Festival of Forgiveness,” where young people will be able to receive the sacrament of Confession.
On Saturday, the Cuatro Vientos stadium will host the vigil, “a cultural and musical event that will transform itself as the hours pass in the prayer vigil.” After spending the night under the stars, the closing Mass will be celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday morning.
The organization of WYD 2011 is being spearheaded by Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid and Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Six teams of organizers and some ten thousand volunteers will be involved in the execution of the event.