Pontiff to Youth: See You in Rio de Janeiro

MADRID, Spain, AUG. 21, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A delegation of young Brazilians present at Cuatro Vientos in Madrid erupted with applause at Benedict XVI’s official announcement that the next World Youth Day would take place in their country in 2013.

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The Pope, who would be 86 years old at the next youth day in August 2013, told the delegation in Portuguese: “I hope to be able to meet you in 2 years (…) in Rio de Janeiro.”

The young Brazilians danced as they listened to the announcement.

Expressing his hopes for the occasion, the Holy Father added: «We ask the Lord that already in this moment he help with his strength those who will organize it and smooth the path of the young people of the whole world that they may again join the Pope in this beautiful city of Brazil.»

The young people of Spain symbolically handed over the World Youth Day Cross to the Brazilians.

Commenting on this gesture, the Pontiff entrusted «to all present this great task: bring the knowledge and the love of Christ to the whole world. He wants you to be his apostles in the 21st century and messengers of his joy. Do not disappoint him!”

Rio de Janeiro, emblematic city of the country with the largest population of Catholics in the world, will be the site of this meeting over which the Pope has presided on 11 occasions outside of the Vatican.

The previous gatherings have taken place in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Santiago de Compostela (Spain), Czestochowa (Poland), Denver (United States), Manila (Philippines), Paris (France), Rome (Italy), Toronto (Canada), Cologne (Germany) and Sydney (Australia).

After Buenos Aries in 1987, the Brazilian city will be the second in Latin America to celebrate this international event.

To date, about 20 million young people have participated in the World Youth Days, initiated by John Paul II in 1984. The first was celebrated in Rome on Palm Sunday on the occasion of the Holy Jubilee Year of the Redemption (1983-1984).

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