ROME, JUNE 22, 2011 (Zenit.org).- This August, Colombia will set a new attendance record when 5,000 of its youth participate in the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid.
Last week, the Colombian Embassy to the Holy See confirmed the estimated number of participants, stating that, "for the first time, since the creation of the World Youth Days by Blessed John Paul II, some 5,000 Colombian youth will participate."
The embassy also noted that the competition it organized, in coordination with the Revel Foundation, "encouraged young people to take part in this international meeting to grow in culture, integration, academic exchanges, and human and spiritual formation."
In January, César Mauricio VelásquezColombia's Ambassador to the Vatican, announced that the government would give away 18 free trips to the Madrid youth day to young people aged 14-30. Interested contestants had to write an essay or produce a video on Benedict XVI's encyclical "Caritas in Veritate" or on the messages of John Paul II to previous youth days.
According to the embassy, more than 2,000 young people from universities, schools, parishes and cultural centers of Colombia took part in the competition. Finalists were sent to the four-member panel, who chose from a selection of 141 essays and 27 videos.
The list of the 18 winners can be viewed here: www.encuentroconelpapa.com/encuentroconelpapa.com/concurso.html.