In addition, on Tuesday, August 16, the WYD Opening Mass will in fact be that of Blessed John Paul II, who is also a patron of World Youth Day in Madrid. He will be “kicking off” this day and will be the one entrusted with its various events and spiritual fruits. “WYD will be entrusted to the man who was acclaimed as the “friend of youth.” He goes before us with his example, as he not only preached but he also took pains to be the first in living out the challenging path that he offered the youth,” said Javier Cremades, Director of Central Events of WYD.
The “Fernán Gómez” Theater, located in Madrid’s Plaza de Colón, one of the city‟s biggest hubs, will host almost all of the initiatives related to the new Blessed. The theater will host Wojtyla, a multimedia musical in Portuguese that recounts the stories of characters whose lives crossed that of John Paul II. They are the testimonies of people whose lives were changed thanks to him and others that show the late Pope’s great sense of humor.
The exhibition The Theology of the Body in the Sistine Chapel, in collaboration with the Vatican Museums and the John Paul II Institute, will show young people the beauty and truth of the vocation to love present in the human body. This exhibition uses scenes from the Sistine Chapel represented on giant panels, accompanied by texts of John Paul II‟s Theology of the Body. This work of the late Pope is a collection of 129 catecheses on love, sexuality, and marriage. The images and texts present the main themes of this work and the different forms of love between people and how they help build society. The “Fernán Gómez” Theater will also host a display of images from his entire pontificate.
Other activities scheduled include Karol Wojtyla, Poet and Actor, an exhibition highlighting John Paul II’s artistic dimension which includes performances of his poetry and plays.
Plaza de Colón is a landmark in Madrid associated with John Paul II, as it was there that he ended his final visit to Spain in May 2003. There, he bade farewell saying, “Goodbye Spain, goodbye Land of Mary.” However, the activities related to John Paul II will not be restricted to Plaza de Colón. Other locations across the city will host a showing of the documentary Nine Days that Changed the World, which traces John Paul II‟s relationship to Poland during his pontificate. In addition, the musical Generation Wojtyla tells the story of people whose spiritual formation reached its maturity during the long papacy of the new Blessed.