.- According to World Youth Day Rio organizers, less than 24 hours after registration for the event opened, some 220 groups from all parts of the globe have begun the process.
The very first pilgrim to sign up for the gathering was Pope Benedict XVI, who is planning to be in Rio to meet with the youth.
Sister Maria Shaiane, director of registration for World Youth Day 2013, told CNA that the event is “open to all people.
“Everyone can participate, and to do so they should register.” While there is no age limit for World Youth Day volunteers, participants must be between the ages of 16 and 35.
Those who want to come to Rio should be “young people who come with joy, who want to have a personal encounter with Christ. After this encounter with the Lord, young people will be able to make other disciples and help to build a new civilization,” Sister Shaiane said.
“It is also important that young people know that World Youth Day is a challenge that demands courage, faith and bravery,” she added.
The event is “a unique experience of living the faith and encounter thousands of young people who also embrace the same challenge: being a young Christian in today’s world. Welcome to WYD Rio 2013!” she said.
So far, young people from Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Venezuela have confirmed their attendance.