.- Rio de Janeiro in Brazil will host World Youth Day in 2013, Pope Benedict XVI told a million young pilgrims after celebrating Mass at Mardrid’s Cuarto Vientos airbase on August 21.
“Even now, let us ask the Lord to assist all those who will organize it and to ease the journey there of young people from all over the world, so that they will be able to join me in that beautiful city of Brazil,” the Pope said in comments following his midday Angelus prayer.
Brazilians who had come to Spain for World Youth Day 2011 felt overjoyed after hearing the morning announcement.
“We are very happy because the Papa has announced this,” said 18-year-old Felipe Vilvert of Parana, Brazil, to CNA.
“This is more important than the World Cup, Rock in Rio or the Olympics. So we Brazilians are all very happy, very happy today.”
Rio will host the soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games two years later.
Vilvert's fellow pilgrim, 17-year-old Maiara Siquera, agreed. “It is going to be amazing to have the Pope in our country. Many people who were not here will be able to see him in Brazil.”
“I am so, so glad!” said 21-year-old Brazilian seminarian Vinicius de Lima Podda, “World Youth Day is always so far away and very expensive, but this time it will be at home.”
The World Youth Day cross – a fixture at the events since 1984 – changed hands after the announcement, as Spanish young people gave it to a group from Brazil.
“I hope to see you again in two years’ time at the next World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,” said the Pope, bidding farewell in Brazil's native Portuguese language.
“Till then, let us pray for each other, witnessing to the joy that brings forth life, rooted in and built upon Christ. Until we meet again, my dear young people! God bless you all!”