.- World Youth Day Rio 2013 will be preceded by a week of missions throughout Brazil before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims arrive for the global youth event next summer.
Father Jefferson Goncalves, director of pre-World Youth Day activities, said the country's traditional “Days in the Dioceses” will instead be a Missions Week to be held July 17-20 in 2013.
The weeks aims to give young people the chance to participate in spiritual activities, works of solidarity with local communities, as well as missionary and cultural events.
Organizer Raphael Fritz said families will provide hospitality for the young people taking part in the Missions Week to give them a more authentic experience of what life is like locally.
The decision to turn the “Days in the Dioceses” into a missions week was made by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, during his visit to Rio de Janeiro in February.
Fr. Goncalves said he hopes the event will “leave as a legacy to future World Youth Days this experience of leading young people into missionary discipleship.”
This week, some 300 youth ministers from around the world are meeting in the Italian city of Rocca di Papa to discuss plans for World Youth Day Rio 2013, the priest noted.