If someone asks what World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro will be like, the event’s organizers believe they have the perfect answer – the open arms of the city’s famous statue of Christ the Redeemer.
“Looking at the imposing statue of Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado we can see the essence of World Youth Day: Christ is with open arms in a gesture of love and welcome, the true center of this event, he is what young people want to find,” said Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on March 29.
Cardinal Rylko made his remarks at the opening of the first international preparatory meeting for those organizing the July 2013 international World Youth Day. The four-day gathering is being held in the small Italian town of Rocca di Papa, which is located 15 miles southeast of Rome.
The meeting brings together 300 representatives from 98 countries and 45 international Catholic youth movements, associations and communities. Today’s session was dedicated to reviewing last year’s World Youth Day in Madrid.
Cardinal Rylko recalled “the unforgettable moments of WYD 2011 in Madrid,” which began with an opening ceremony in Plaza de Cibeles and ended six days later at an open air papal Mass at the city’s Quatro Vientos airbase.
“The young people gathered in the Plaza de Cibeles in Quatro Vientos and screamed a decided ‘yes’: faith is possible even today, or better, it is the most beautiful adventure in life that may occur! It was an epiphany for a young Church, full of joy and missionary zeal,” Cardinal Rylko said.
The Friday, March 30 session is entitled “On our way to Rio 2013.” It will involve addresses from Archbishop Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro and Bishop Eduardo Pinheiro da Silva, president of Brazil’s Episcopal Commission for Youth. Both men, along with other members of the organizing committee, will outline the expectations and challenges facing World Youth Day 2013.
On Saturday, the delegates will study the issue of “The Christian education of young people: a priority in the mission of the Church.” Key contributions to the discussion will come from Bishop Josef Clemens, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and testimonies given by many of the young delegates.
The preparatory session will finish with the delegates attending Palm Sunday Mass, which will be presided over by Pope Benedict in Saint Peter’s Square. April 1 also marks the Diocese of Rome’s celebration of the 27th World Youth Day.