.- The general coordinator of World Youth Day 2011 announced Jan 14 that John Paul II has been named patron of the upcoming youth event in Madrid, Spain.
The 2011 World Youth Day will be celebrated August 16-21.
The event's general coordinator, Auxiliary Bishop Cesar Franco of Madrid made the announcement shortly after Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, disclosed that John Paul II will be beatified on May 1.
Cardinal Rylko announced the beatification to the more than 400 representatives attending the International Meeting of Delegates meeting to prepare for World Youth Day. The representatives broke out in prolonged applause upon hearing the news.
The World Youth Day organizers emphasized that John Paul II always had a special affinity for young people. In 1985, when the first World Youth Day took place, the late-Pope said: “The entire Church ought to be ever more committed at the worldwide level to support young people in their anxieties and desires, in their openness and their hopes, in order to meet their expectations and communicate to them the certainty who is Christ.”
Delegates are meeting in Madrid this week to finalize details for the upcoming World Youth Day, including hospitality, transportation, visas, online information and other issues.
Madrid’s Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, told the delegates, “World Youth Day is not just another gathering, but rather an event that will be a vital experience for the thousands of young people coming from all over the world.”
He said officials would do everything possible “to make everyone feel at home and to make Madrid the best World Youth Day host city so far.”