Vancouver is taking many young people to Madrid this summer. Find out who they are and why they are going.
Video produced by www.revaloria.org to promote WYD2011 in Madrid, Spain.
Rome Reports profiles the use of technology and social communications for WYD 2011.
It seems hard to believe, but there are still many people who are unaware of the Word Youth Day phenomenon. As young people are beginning prepare and raise funds for the upcoming pilgrimage to Madrid, others are asking what this event is all about?
In response to their question, I simply tell them that World Youth Day is an “incarnational experience.” That is to say, if the incarnation of Jesus helps us to understand the nature of God; then similarly World Youth Day helps us to understand the nature and depth of the Catholic Church.
Ask anyone who has been to a WYD, and they will tell you that while they may have categorized themselves as Catholic, they didn’t understand what that meant until they shared Eucharist with so many people from so many different parts of the world. For one week, the host city becomes something like a preview of the Kingdom of God fulfilled – people share a common story that would not otherwise be told or heard with such intimacy.
Even those who aren’t “participating” cannot resist the overwhelming sense of joy that ascends from the many pilgrims who descend upon them. Police and city personnel who expected the worst are amazed at the comfort and harmony of the event, not just among the pilgrims, but among the residents as well.
But to limit the experience of World Youth Day to the one week in a host city is to underestimate it’s real value, because the preparation and follow-up are equally as powerful. Some might say that the actual week of WYD is more like the culminating segment of a much larger event.
Right about now, future pilgrims are beginning to experience their first steps of their pilgrimage – those steps that happen in the own backyard. For the next couple of months they will begin to tell the story of their own longing for a deeper relationship with God. Over these next couple of months, they will realize that there is a void they cannot fill on their own. They will be like the many characters we read about in the scriptures who are waiting for the fulfillment of a promise.
For them, they will know what it means to encounter the mystical Body of Christ when they arrive in Madrid.
And afterwards. . . well, that is up to them. But rest assured, they will read the first chapters of Acts a little differently than they did before; for they will be the for us, what the apostles where to the Hebrews, Corinthians, Philippians, Romans and others.
Firmes en la Fe, firm in the faith is the Theme Song for WYD 2011, Madrid, Spain. This is the pop version of the song.
Rome Reports offers a profile of World Youth Day theme songs – from Buenos Aires 87 to Madrid 2011.
Join Mission Youth on their pilgrimage to WYD Madrid in August 2011.
Pope John Paul II enjoyed amazing popularity among young Catholics throughout his 26-year pontificate. The strongest symbol of the importance he accorded to this connection is, without doubt, World Youth Days. It’s not remarkable that the Pope saw his youthful friends as a metaphor of renewal and hope; what is remarkable is that young people also see and understand themselves this way.
Through these gatherings, John Paul II made it clear: young people are not only the future of the Church, they are also its present. WYD 2002 was for the Canadian Church a privileged moment of re-commitment to the deeply Christian values that are at the heart of Canada. These values, now often ignored or hidden, reveal who we really are: Gospel agents of salt and light in the world today.
The experience of World Youth Days in Argentina, Spain, Poland, Denver, Manila, Paris, Rome, Toronto, Cologne, and this week in Sydney brought much new life to each of the countries where the great events took place. As we celebrate the event in Sydney, we need to take stock of the gifts we have received and ask how the vision and hope of John Paul II have influenced our own efforts in pastoral ministry with young people and young adults in each country. What have the joy, enthusiasm, exuberance and creativity of our World Youth Day experiences taught us? How have they transformed Youth and Young Adult Ministry in each host diocese and country? Have we initiated a ‘preferential option’ for young people in the Church today?
The principal elements of World Youth Days contribute greatly to an effective pastoral ministry with young people and with young adults. These elements—Christ, Sacred Scripture, catechesis, the sacraments (especially Reconciliation and Eucharist), piety, devotion, the World Youth Day Cross, the saints, together with the moments of pilgrimage, the Youth Festival, social service projects, vocations—must find a central place in our pastoral efforts with young people.
The New Evangelization at the heart of John Paul II’s teaching is about instilling hope and vibrancy in the Church—to combat the cynicism, despair and meaninglessness prevalent in the world today. John Paul II knew well that the world struggles with separation, fragmentation, loneliness, alienation, and rampant globalization that exploits the poor. Through the gift of World Youth Days, John Paul II offered us powerful opportunities to become bearers of hope, agents of community, neighbours to those around us, and instruments of a moral globalization that must accompany all our international efforts.
During his Angelus address at the conclusion of the 17th World Youth Day in Toronto, the Holy Father said: “This World Youth Day must mark a re-awakening of pastoral attention to the young in Canada. May the enthusiasm of this moment be the spark that is needed to launch a new era of powerful witness to the gospel!… My wish for all of you who are here is that the commitments you have made during these days of faith and celebration will bring forth abundant fruits of dedication and witness. May you always treasure the memory of Toronto!”
World Youth Days are celebrations of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Faith. At the welcoming ceremony of World Youth Day 2002, Pope John Paul II said: “With your gaze set firmly on him [Jesus], you will discover the path of forgiveness and reconciliation in a world often laid waste by violence and terror.” The person of Jesus Christ must be at the heart of our efforts with young adults. In order to be authentic believers, we must have a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. How is Christ at the heart of our efforts with young people? What is distinctive and unique about being Catholic?
The principal elements of World Youth Days—Christ, Sacred Scripture, catechesis, the sacraments (especially Reconciliation and Eucharist), piety, devotion, the World Youth Day Cross, the saints, together with the moments of pilgrimage, the Youth Festival, social service projects, vocations—must find a central place in our pastoral efforts with young people.
Pope John Paul’s biblical theme for WYD 2002 was most appropriate for our society and world that are often steeped in mediocrity and darkness. “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). What biblical stories and images animate our pastoral ministry with young people?
During WYD 2002 in Toronto, over 100,000 young people celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Through this sacrament Christ lets us meet him and brings out the best in us. In our pastoral work with young people, do we present this sacrament as a privileged encounter with Christ who heals, forgives and liberates us?
World Youth Days offer the Church profound moments to deepen our Christian piety and devotion. In Canada during 2001-2002, the historic, 43,000-km pilgrimage of the WYD Cross and the magnificent presentation of the Stations of the Cross were a provocative, profound witness of the Christian story in the heart of a modern city. How have we continued this tradition in our parish communities and youth activities? Do we acknowledge the need for solid, biblically rooted Christian piety and devotion in the lives of young people today?
During his pontificate, John Paul II proclaimed 1,338 blesseds and 482 saints. Young adults need heroes and heroines today, and the Pope gave us outstanding models of holiness and humanity. Nine young blesseds and saints were patrons of WYD 2002, several more were patrons for WYD 2005, and now John Paul II himself is among the 10 patrons for WYD 2008 in Sydney. How often do we present these holy men and women as the real role models for young people today?
Have we taken to heart Pope John Paul II’s invitation to young people to consider lives of consecrated service in the Church today? “think of the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests and religious whose only wish is to serve and do good! There are many priests, seminarians and consecrated persons here today; be close to them and support them! And if, in the depths of your hearts, you feel the same call to the priesthood or consecrated life, do not be afraid to follow Christ on the royal road of the cross! At difficult moments in the Church’s life, the pursuit of holiness becomes even more urgent.”
How many people are no longer afraid because they saw in John Paul II one who was not afraid? How many young seminarians and religious have spoken their ‘yes’ because of him? How many young men and women have discovered meaning in John Paul II’s theology of the body and have entered into marriage with deep faith and conviction? How many ordinary people have done extraordinary things because of his influence, his teaching and his gestures?
Let us give thanks to God for Pope John Paul II who believed in young people. We are now shepherded by Pope Benedict XVI, someone who is deeply committed to bringing young people to Christ. On the morning after his election, Benedict XVI spoke at the end of a Mass: “I think in particular of young people. [...] With you, dear young people, future and hope of the Church and of humanity, I will continue to dialogue, listening to your expectations in an attempt to help you to encounter ever more profoundly the living Christ, who is eternally young.” In a homily a few days later, he said: “I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ—and you will find true life.”
Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.
Former National Director, World Youth Day 2002
CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and Television Network
When Pope Benedict arrives in Madrid on August 18 one of the first things he will do is visit two of the most iconic places in the city…and, of course, meet with the more than one million young people who will be in town to see him.
The Holy Father is expected to arrive at Puerta de Alcala’ or Alcala Gate. The gate was built at the point where two central roads, the road from Aragon and the road from Catalonia enter Madrid. There are other gates in other parts of the city. Unlike nearby Avila, which was once a walled city and thus had gates so citizens could get in and out, Madrid’s gates are purely decorative and mark the place where important roadways enter the city. The Puerta de Alcala that pilgrims will see when they arrive in Madrid in August is not the original gate.
The original Puerta de Alcala was a modest affair, made of brick and consisting of three arches. The central arch housed a statue of Our Lady of Mercy while the side arches housed a statue of St. Peter Nolasco and Blessed Mariana of Jesus. That gate was demolished when construction began on the Salon del Prado (a pedestrian boulevard and green space that serves as a outdoor living space where Madrilenians walk, sit, chat, play, run) in 1764 and it was decided that the neighbourhood should match the architecture of the new space. Thus the larger, neo-classical gate was built. Today the Salon del Prado is known as the Paseo del Prado and extends north to the Paseo de Recoletos and the Paseo della Castellana.
Pope Benedict will walk through the Puerta de Alcala accompanied by five young people who represent the five continents (in Europe, North and South America are considered one continent) and proceed to Plaza Cibeles, one of the most iconic plazas in Madrid located along the Paseo de Recoletos….but I’ll save Cibeles for another day.
World Youth Day pilgrims are internationally-renowned for being polite. So it must have been in hushed tones that some expressed their dissent. Not to Pope Benedict, who generated enthusiastic responses at the Cologne and Sydney events in ’05 and ’08, respectively. Nor to the selection of this year’s host city, sunny Madrid. But rather, displeasure with the the official hymn of World Youth Day.
Only the Spanish version of “Firmes en la Fe” has been released. Personally, when I first heard it, the cumbersome refrain didn’t immediately resonate. Perhaps in time, the challenging chorus may prove to extend its shelf life, since instantly catchy pop tunes can become grating after too much repetition. Nevertheless, I wasn’t alone — organizers are admitting that the hymn hasn’t been very popular, particularly in the host country.
Dissatisfied pilgrims now have an opportunity to write the World Youth Day hymn that could-have-been. A new competition, Tuned Into Madrid, allows the musically-inclined to submit their own songs. Users are then encouraged to vote for their favourites. Winning selections will be added to the WYD ‘hymnal’, meaning that they will be sung by the 1.5 million anticipated attendees of the global event.