Cardinal Expects New Epiphany at Youth Day '11

Madrid Prelate Says Spain Is 1st Beneficiary of Event

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By Carmen Elena Villa

ROME, OCT. 5, 2010 ( «If every World Youth Day is a gift for the whole Church, it is first and foremost a gift for the local Church that hosts it,» the archbishop of Madrid affirmed today.

Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, also president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, affirmed this at a press conference this morning in the Vatican to present World Youth Day 2011, which will be held Aug. 16-21 in his archdiocese.

«Young people from all over the world will take part, but undoubtedly many hundreds of thousands will be Spanish,» said the cardinal. «We will be the first beneficiaries of so many graces.»

Spain is the first country to host World Youth Day twice. In 1989, Santiago de Compostela was the host city; Cardinal Rouco was then the archbishop of that city.

«It was the youth of the 80s,» he recalled. «They were very close to the generation of 1968. Some because they had lived it, others because they were educated by professors who lived it.»

Cardinal Rouco said he thinks this new generation has a more hopeful attitude: «They are looking for the meaning of their life, they ask to be treated with personal closeness.»

World Youth Day, he said, will give these youth «a history of Catholic continuity and a mission experience, of great roots and a timeliness that is not lost.»

Rich history

The history of World Youth Days, which have been held every three years since 1985, «is a fascinating history, of the birth of a new generation of young people,» Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, proposed. «Young people of a ‘yes’ to Christ, of convinced adherence to the Church and the Pope.»

The cardinal asserted that this event is «a photograph of very different youth from that portrayed by the media,» because it shows an attitude on the part of young people «thirsty for authentic values and the search for a more profound meaning of life.»

For Auxiliary Bishop César Franco Martínez of Madrid, general coordinator of the WYD, the enthusiasm and faith of so many young people is a fact that «enkindles in us pastors the desire to be integral, consistent — to be able to take to them more clearly the message of Christ.»

Over these 25 years of history, WYD has become «a powerful instrument of evangelization of the way of young people, of dialogue with the new generations,» Cardinal Rylko reflected. «We are certain that this time also young people will accept the Pope’s invitation and Madrid will become the place of a new epiphany, of a young Church, rooted and founded on Christ, solid in the faith.»

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