ROME, AUG. 29, 2011 (Zenit.org).- According to the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, preparations for World Youth Day 2013 are already under way.
Though Madrid's celebration is barely over, Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko has already met with the bishops of Brazil to get WYD Rio de Janeiro rolling.
L'Osservatore Romano spoke with the cardinal about the preparations.
Q: The way from Madrid to Rio de Janeiro 2013 is long.
Cardinal Ryłko: Yes, but time is pressing. That is why we began to work in Madrid. I already had a first meeting with the archbishop of the [host] city and a representation of the national episcopal conference. We have agreed on an agenda for the forthcoming meetings. Meanwhile, the large wooden cross that always precedes the WYDs is already on its way to Brazil, as a plough that prepares the earth for the sowing. It will arrive in the archdiocese of São Paulo and from there will begin a pilgrimage to the 274 dioceses of the country, in the two-year span of preparation for the event.
Q: Hence, it is a continuous pastoral challenge?
Cardinal Ryłko: The objective of every WYD is to build bridges between the extraordinary event of the celebration and the international meeting with the Pope and the ordinary and concrete life of young people who live in the present-day reality. Here is where the quality of youth ministry is measured.
Q: Where does one start?
Cardinal Ryłko: It is very important to stress that when the spotlights are turned off and everything returns to daily normality, it is necessary to follow-up the WYDs in ordinary pastoral care. In the meetings in Madrid a very grandiose sowing was carried out thanks to the presence and very penetrating words of Benedict XVI. But now harvest time has arrived, the time of verification: We must see how what we invested at the level of universal Church was received and cultivated in the local realities. Above all, young people who have opted for the consecrated or priestly life deserve special support, so that their vocation won't be quickly extinguished.
Q: What does the experience lived in Madrid mean?
Cardinal Ryłko: Above all the climate of spirituality of the Via Crucis in Cibeles Square. The representation of Christ's passion in the WYDs is not accessory. On the contrary, it must be a catalyzer, because young people must encounter Jesus. Many of them, moreover, have intuited already in several previous WYDs that one of the places where that can occur is the Paschal Mystery. Hence the importance of the Via Crucis, and in this year's edition the symbiosis was very evident between tradition and the present. It was a truly strong moment of the Madrid WYD, because it condensed in itself two aspects: on one hand, the images of the very eloquent floats and the words of the meditations that accompanied them made for the re-living of Christ's Paschal Mystery in the today of a youth of the third millennium; and on the other, the truly impressive singing and music -- a wonderful synthesis between word, images and young people, who saw themselves really involved in this mystery.
[Translation by ZENIT]