ANNOUNCING WORLD YOUTH DAY 2013 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 23-28 July
Theme: ‘“Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
By Fr. Shanthi Chakko Puthussery, PIME
National Catholic Youth Coordinator
The Pontifical Council for the Laity had a meeting of national youth coordinators to prepare for next year's World Youth Day (WYD) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The meeting was held in Italy from 29 March to 1 April and brought together delegates from almost one hundred countries. I represented Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
It was immediately noted that on previous WYDs the young people had a good experience of the universality of the Church, rediscovered the meaning of sacrifice, the Eucharistic adoration, the Sacrament of Confession, and the spirituality of joy. Several country representatives also agreed on the fact that WYD participation increased interest in catechism classes, Scripture reading and the Sacrament of marriage.
The Australian representative explained how the Church in the country is growing in the pastoral care of the youth after WYD was held in Sydney in 2008. The following year, 350 youth pastoral care leaders participated in the national youth leadership training program; 400 in 2010; while more than 500 are expected in September this years. Three thousand Australian youngsters also made it to Madrid, Spain for WYD 2011.
Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, stressed the fact that WYD began with an invitation by Pope John Paul II in 1986 to the young people to get together every two or three years. The hosting country organizes everything according to their geographical, cultural and traditional set up. But each diocese is responsible for the preparation of their young people, their traveling and participation into WYD and the fruits of prayer, catechetical formation and witnessing of the faith when they are back home.
In Brazil the preparation for WYD 2013 has already began with dissemination of information, reflection on the Word of God, prayer and night vigils by the youth in every diocese; “to avoid that WYD might turn into a mere social and cultural event”, Archbishop John Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro said at the meeting in Italy.
A "missionary week" in the dioceses of Brazil, open to all youth coming for WYD 2013, will also precede the actual event. Brazil has 276 dioceses with 476 bishops, 22,112 priests and 33,386 religious with a young population of 60 million aged between 15 and 30.
It is only the second time that WYD is held in South America after Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1986.