"It's Time to Organize a WYD in Africa"

Cardinal Rylko Illustrates Talks About Rio 2013

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By Luca Marcolivio

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 2, 2012 (Zenit.org).-  World Youth Days are now an essential part of pastoral work with young people. This was demonstrated by the presence of a good 250 delegates representing the Episcopal Conferences of 99 countries and 45 international movements, associations and communities at an international meeting organized at the end of last week in Rocca di Papa by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

An evaluation of the event held in preparation for the 2013 WYD in Rio de Janeiro was made during a press conference, held this morning in the Vatican Press Office, in the presence of Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Also present were Archishop Orani João Tempesta of São Sebastião of Rio de Janeiro; Bishop Eduardo Pinheiro da Silva, auxiliary bishop of Campo Grande and president of the Episcopal Commission for Youth of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil; Luiz Carlos Pugialli, president of the Brazilian Governmental Commission for Rio 2013, and Father João Wilkes Chagas of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

During the meeting at Rocca di Papa, Madrid’s WYD was spoken about, with testimonies by young people from several continents – from the Philippines to Madagascar, from Poland to Venezuela. Madrid’s archbishop, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, and the principal members of Madrid’s Organizing Committee for WYD were also there.

“WYD was truly a prophetic intuition of Blessed John Paul II, who effected a revolution in the field of youth ministry,” said Cardinal Rylko. He also reflected on the importance of the Christian formation of young people to be “capable of living the Gospel fully and of transmitting it with joy.”

The next World Youth Day, planned in Rio de Janeiro from July 23-28, 2013, “is situated in the context of the continental mission desired in the meeting of CELAM’s bishops in Aparecida in 2007,” explained Cardinal Rylko. The theme of the Brazilian WYD is “Go therefore and Make Disciples of All Nations” (cf. Matthew 28:19) and it is linked to the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.

“Before hosting the World Soccer Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, the civil authorities of Brazil are committed to receive young people of the WYD  in the best ways possible, because they have understood that, in a certain sense, it will be an even more important event, either because of the number of participants or because the young people of today need first of all to be rooted in the faith and in the great family of the Church to contribute more and better to the life of the society,” continued the cardinal.

Responding to a journalist’s question, about the venue of the next WYD after Rio, Cardinal Rylko did not exclude the possibility of opting for an African locality. “We are very confident and determined to continue on this path because Africa really deserves it. It is a young continent and now we are convinced the time has arrived to organize this event in that continent,” he explained.

For his part, Archibishop Orani João Tempesta commented that the official Website, www.rio2013.com , online since August 21, 2011, the day of the Pope’s official announcement, is now available in five languages: Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, English and French. The social network of the next WYD, on both Facebook and Twitter, already has 600,000 users.

Rio’s prelate then gave other data and useful information about Rio 2013, beginning with the logo that symbolizes “the city, the country, the WYD spirit and the cross, a sign that is particularly dear to Brazil which had as its first name Land of the Holy Cross.”

Of the 60,000 volunteers needed, 16,000 have already confirmed their availability, while there are 180 proposals for the hymn of the next WYD. Once a short list is drawn up, a competition will begin for the music. Registration for pilgrims will open this July.

“In recent years in Brazil there has been economic growth and a consequent lessening of social differences. This WYD will be an opportunity to offer growth also in the Christian values of solidarity, justice, hope and courage for the new generations,” added Archbishop Tempesta.

Taking up what Cardinal Rylko said in Rocca di Papa, the archbishop of Rio concluded: “It is said that all roads lead to Rome. Now we say: all roads lead to Rio.”

He was followed by the intervention of Bishop Eduardo Pinheiro da Silva who recalled that the Church in Brazil “has a long experience of work with young people,” beginning with the apostolates of Catholic Action and of the Marian Congregations in the 50s and 60s.

He then mentioned the pilgrimage – already under way – of the WYD Cross and Marian Icon, which to date have reached 130 of the 276 Brazilian dioceses, involving 2 million young people. He also spoke of how the traditional Days in the Diocese that have preceded recent World Youth Days will in Brazil be exchanged for a mission week.

“The 2013 Rio WYD is the greatest youth event of the Catholic Church and, in addition to contributing to the Christian vocation of the missionary disciple, it gives impetus to the youth pastoral ministry of the country that hosts it,” concluded Bishop Pinheiro.

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