On the evening of July 13, thousands of young people flocked to Rio de Janeiro for the release of the official World Youth Day prayer as preparations for next year's global youth event continue.
“The prayer was made so that, in a more intense and focused manner, people may pray for the intentions we have for this one-year countdown mark which is already drawing near,” said Fr. Leandro Lênin, of the Pastoral Preparation Sector within the Local WYD Organization Committee in Rio.
The committee is overseen by Archbishop Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro with the help of auxiliary bishops of Rio, priests and lay people of the Brazilian Archdiocese.
As the one year countdown approaches, thousands of young people gathered downtown on Friday night for the Mass with Archbishop Tempesta and to say the prayer for the first time.
After Mass, the youth went in procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the Perpetual Adoration Shrine of Sant’Anna, also located in Rio, where the traditional pre-WYD monthly overnight vigil is currently taking place.
The prayer – released in Portuguese, English and several other languages – asks God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that “driven by their experience of World Youth Day,” young people may bring “to the four corners of the world faith, hope and charity, becoming great builders of a culture of life and peace and catalysts of a new world.”
Recalling Rio’s major religious symbol, the Christ the Redeemer statue, the prayer says that the image of its open arms on the top of Corcovado Mountain reminds the world that Jesus “welcomes all people.”
Fr. Leandro Lênin explained in an interview on the official WYD site that in preparing the text, the committee had to rely on the Holy Spirit in “true moments of prayer, in which we tried to meditate and put together all the characteristic elements of a World Youth Day.”
“The prayer is essentially Trinitarian, and above all, it invokes the Holy Spirit to favor the formation of the new disciple-missionaries who will go to out to evangelize in the four corners of the planet,” he said.
“As we pray for WYD, we also want to pray for those who are donating their time in partnership with us. We pray for the volunteers, for all things about to happen on the path towards the event and most importantly, for the pilgrims who will be coming to Rio in July of 2013.”
According to Fr. Arnaldo Rodrigues, a young priest who was just ordained this year and runs the Pastoral Preparation Sector of WYD Rio 2013 along with Fr. Leandro, “a World Youth Day can’t be prepared without much prayer.”
“This prayer will be known all over the world,” he said, adding that “it will favor the spiritual communion of all those who pray for the preparation of World Youth Day and especially for those who will be coming to the Youth gathering in Rio next year.”
Pope Benedict is slated to attend the global youth event next summer, which will take place from July 23-July 28.
Below is the text for the official World Youth Day Rio 2013 prayer:
Oh, Father, You sent Your Eternal Son to save the world and chose men and women, through Him, with Him and in Him, to proclaim the Good News to all nations. Grant us the graces necessary so that joy may shine in the faces of all young people, the joy of being, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the evangelists the Church needs in the Third Millennium.
Oh Christ, Redeemer of humanity, the image of Your open arms on the top of Corcovado welcomes all people. In Your paschal offering, You brought us by the Holy Spirit to an encounter of sonship with the Father. Young people, who are fed by Eucharist, hear You in Your Word and meet You as their brother, need your infinite mercy to run the paths of the world missionary-disciples of the New Evangelization.
Oh Holy Spirit, Love of the Father and the Son, with the splendor of Your Truth and the fire of Your Love, send Your Light to all young people so that, driven by their experience of World Youth Day, they may bring to the four corners of the world faith, hope and charity, becoming great builders of a culture of life and peace and catalysts of a new world.