You can now visit the Madrid11 website and look for all the locations for the Catechesis Sessions.
The Catechesis Sessions traditionally take place from the Wednesday to Friday of WYD. In Madrid they will be on Wednesday August 17th, Thursday August 18th, and Friday August 19th, at 10:00 am. Every day there will be a different bishop at each location and the sessions are organised by language.
This year, rather than assigning Catechesis sessions to the registered participants, the WYD National Office invites pilgrims to go to the catechesis session closest to their accomodation.
The largest English-speaking Catechesis Site will be at the Knights of Columbus and Sisters of Life-sponsored Love and Life Site, housed in the Palacio de los Deportes (Av Felipe II, s/n, 28009). At the Love and Life Site Catechesis sessions will be led by three bishops, one from Australia, one from the U.S. and one from Canada. These Catechesis Sessions will be broadcast live at WYDTV on www.wydcentral.org on those three days, and on S+L TV’s digital cable network, August 17-19 at 9am ET (6am PT). Each Catechesis Session ends with daily Mass.
For more information about S+L TV’s WYD coverage visit www.saltandlighttv.org.
“Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (cf Col 2:7)
Wednesday 17 August: Firm in the faith
Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, 2
- Heb11: 1-2, 7-11
- Psalm: Lk 1: 68-75
(R/ Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people)
- Mt 14: 23-33
Preface of the Holy Spirit II, Eucharistic Prayer III
Thursday 18 August: Established in Jesus Christ
Votive Mass of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
- Acts 4: 8-12
- Psalm: Is 12: 2-6
(R/ Our help is in the name of the Lord)
- Mt 1: 18-25
Eucharistic Prayer IV including Preface
Friday 19 August: Witnesses to Christ in the world
Mass for the Evangelisation of Peoples
- Rom 10: 9-18
- Psalm 95
- Mk 16: 15-20
Eucharistic Prayer of Reconciliation I including Preface
“Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (cf Col 2:7)
Theme: Firm in the faith
Christians today often find that they are living out their faith in God and in Jesus Christ in a society where God is forgotten. There is a kind of “eclipse of the sense of God”, a widespread secularism that eliminates God from the public sphere. As God is the source of life, if human beings have no conscious reference to their Creator, then they lose their sense of dignity and identity. This forgetfulness of God is at the root of all of society’s problems. In a context like this, there is urgent need to discover anew the primacy of God in people’s lives: “Everything changes depending on whether God exists or not” (Address by Card. Joseph Ratzinger at a world gathering of catechists and religion teachers in Rome, 10 December 2000).
What does it mean to believe in God and to believe in the one who was sent by God, Jesus Christ? Faith is a divine gift through which God is revealed and through which God gives himself to humankind. Christ reveals the face of God to humankind. Faith illumines and transforms the lives of believers because we are made for God. It is only through faith in God, through which we enter into communion with God and establish bonds of trust, that life finds fulfilment. In the Gospel, Jesus often praises the virtue of faith and invites the disciples to grow in faith. Faith is a fundamental life choice. If we believe in God’s Word, we are building our lives on solid rock (cf. CCC 153-155).
Our faith is to be found deep-seated within the faith of the Christian community, and this is what sustains it. The faith of the Church (“we believe” is what we say at the baptismal profession of faith) always precedes a personal act of faith and carries it to completion – “I believe” (cf. CEC 166).
To believe in God is a reasonable human action, one which gives us certainty of the truth. As God is the Creator of the material world, there is no opposition between scientific knowledge and knowledge through faith (cf. CEC 155-159).
From the Message of Benedict XVI for the 26th World Youth Day, no. 1
God is the source of life. To set God aside is to separate ourselves from that source and, inevitably, to deprive ourselves of fulfilment and joy: “without the Creator, the creature fades into nothingness” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 36). In some parts of the world, particularly in the West, today’s culture tends to exclude God, and to consider faith a purely private issue with no relevance for the life of society. Even though the set of values underpinning society comes from the Gospel – values like the sense of the dignity of the person, of solidarity, of work and of the family –, we see a certain “eclipse of God” taking place, a kind of amnesia which, albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity, is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith, a denial that could lead to the loss of our deepest identity.
From the Message of Benedict XVI for the 26th World Youth Day, no. 4
“Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 150). Thus you will acquire a mature and solid faith, one which will not be based simply on religious sentiment or on a vague memory of the catechism you studied as a child. You will come to know God and to live authentically in union with him, like the Apostle Thomas who showed his firm faith in Jesus in the words: “My Lord and my God!”.
Theme : Established in Jesus Christ
Young people are called to build their lives just as they would build a house. However, postmodern society often produces personalities that lack a clear and strong human and Christian identity. There are so many people that do not have roots planted that would help them to know where they are coming from and where they are going. What must they do in order to build their lives in today’s environment where the “dictatorship of relativism” holds sway, a situation in which people can no longer distinguish between good and evil, the true and the false?
Jesus Christ invites us to build our lives with Him, on solid foundations. This is why young people are called to be in relationship with Jesus. “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 1). To be a Christian means to be “grafted” to Christ like branches to a vine: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).
Who is Jesus Christ for us? Jesus is God who became a human being like us. He is the Emmanuel, which means “God with us”. In the Incarnation, God became present and close to us. Jesus Christ manifests the Love of God the Father who entered into the lives of humankind (cf. CEC 456-463). Jesus, in his great mercy, draws us into his circle of friends (cf. Jn 15:14-15). Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6) because he is the Saviour who freed us from sin and death. Jesus, “in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals humanity to itself and brings to light its very high calling” (Gaudium et Spes, 22). Jesus Christ is God’s response to the great aspirations of humankind.
If we welcome Jesus Christ as the root and foundation of our lives, it means that we are taking our baptism seriously. Jesus Christ made a covenant with us. He invites us to live with Him in every aspect of our lives. He invites us to be holy. Holiness is the fullness of life in Christ.
From the Message of Benedict XVI for the 26th World Youth Day, no. 2
Through faith, we have been built up in Jesus Christ (cf Col 2:7), even as a house is built on its foundations. [...] Being built up in Jesus Christ means responding positively to God’s call, trusting in him and putting his word into practice. Jesus himself reprimanded his disciples: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I tell you?” (Lk 6:46). He went on to use the image of building a house: “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built” (Lk 6:47-48).
From the Message of Benedict XVI for the 26th World Youth Day, no. 4
We too want to be able to see Jesus, to speak with him and to feel his presence even more powerfully. For many people today, it has become difficult to approach Jesus. There are so many images of Jesus in circulation which, while claiming to be scientific, detract from his greatness and the uniqueness of his person. That is why, after many years of study and reflection, I thought of sharing something of my own personal encounter with Jesus by writing a book. It was a way to help others see, hear and touch the Lord in whom God came to us in order to make himself known. Jesus himself, when he appeared again to his disciples a week later, said to Thomas: “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe” (Jn 20:27). We too can have tangible contact with Jesus and put our hand, so to speak, upon the signs of his Passion, the signs of his love. It is in the sacraments that he draws particularly near to us and gives himself to us. Dear young people, learn to “see” and to “meet” Jesus in the Eucharist, where he is present and close to us, and even becomes food for our journey. In the sacrament of Penance the Lord reveals his mercy and always grants us his forgiveness. Recognize and serve Jesus in the poor, the sick, and in our brothers and sisters who are in difficulty and in need of help. Enter into a personal dialogue with Jesus Christ and cultivate it in faith. Get to know him better by reading the Gospels and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Converse with him in prayer, and place your trust in him. He will never betray that trust!
Friday 19 August – 3rd catechesis
The world today – particularly the parts of it that have a long Christian tradition – has become a place of mission. There is urgent need for a new evangelisation, and Pope Benedict XVI has pointed this out many times. There are “desert lands” in the world awaiting the Word of God. There are so many people searching for God. Christ’s Gospel must be proclaimed so that the world can be saved.
Every baptised person is called to this mission. The call to evangelise is not reserved to just a few members of the Church. It is a command and a grace for all the baptised. It is not possible to live out your faith in Christ without bearing witness because “Faith is strengthened when it is given to others” (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 2).
Young people must be active participants in this new era of missionary activity. Jesus Christ is calling on them to devote their lives to witnessing to God’s love to all people, and in a special way to their own contemporaries. To evangelise is to allow Jesus Christ to be seen through our words and actions. We are also called to speak out explicitly about our faith and to witness to God’s action in our lives. We are encouraged to transform our behaviour so that the face of Jesus Christ can be seen. Then we will work with Jesus and according to his Word by serving the world generously with special attention to the poor. This is how young people will be able to play their part in bringing about a more incisive Christian presence, like “salt of the earth and light of the world” (cf Mt 5:13-14). They will help to bring about a new humanity and a revolution of love.
If young people are to respond generously to this call to mission, they need the support of the Church. They can be inspired by the witness given by saints and martyrs of earlier centuries.
From the Message of Benedict XVI for the 26th World Youth Day, no. 3
There is a strong current of secularist thought that aims to make God marginal in the lives of people and society by proposing and attempting to create a “paradise” without him. Yet experience tells us that a world without God becomes a “hell”: filled with selfishness, broken families, hatred between individuals and nations, and a great deficit of love, joy and hope. On the other hand, wherever individuals and nations accept God’s presence, worship him in truth and listen to his voice, then the civilization of love is being built, a civilization in which the dignity of all is respected, and communion increases, with all its benefits.
From the Message of Benedict XVI for the 26th World Youth Day, no. 5
In the history of the Church, the saints and the martyrs have always drawn from the glorious Cross of Christ the strength to be faithful to God even to the point of offering their own lives. In faith they found the strength to overcome their weaknesses and to prevail over every adversity. Indeed, as the Apostle John says, “Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 Jn 5:5). The victory born of faith is that of love. There have been, and still are, many Christians who are living witnesses of the power of faith that is expressed in charity. They have been peacemakers, promoters of justice and workers for a more humane world, a world in accordance with God’s plan. With competence and professionalism, they have been committed in different sectors of the life of society, contributing effectively to the welfare of all. The charity that comes from faith led them to offer concrete witness by their actions and words. Christ is not a treasure meant for us alone; he is the most precious treasure we have, one that is meant to be shared with others. In our age of globalization, be witnesses of Christian hope all over the world. How many people long to receive this hope! Standing before the tomb of his friend Lazarus, who had died four days earlier, as he was about to call the dead man back to life, Jesus said to Lazarus’ sister Martha: “If you believe, you will see the glory of God” (cf. Jn 11:40). In the same way, if you believe, and if you are able to live out your faith and bear witness to it every day, you will become a means of helping other young people like yourselves to find the meaning and joy of life, which is born of an encounter with Christ!