WYD: a missionary laboratory


“World Youth Days are a missionary laboratory, a providential occasion to strengthen faith, a meaningful incitement to commit ourselves to evangelization”. Using these words, His Excellency Msgr. Josef Clemens, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, addressed the assembly during the second day of the Preparatory Meeting for WYD in Rio de Janeiro (July 23rd- to 28th 2013). He reaffirmed that Rio 2013 will contribute to reinforce our being Christian and consequently contributing to the redemption of humanity.

Bishop Clemens, addressing the more than 200 delegates representing 75 countries and 40 ecclesial movements and associations, underlined the importance of the preparation to WYD. “For this the Message of the Holy Father is crucial… Preparation has to be carried out at the local level in the diocese, in the preparation of the catechesis, and the liturgies. The message is very significant to sharing and transmitting faith to others”. The key word of the message of Benedict XVI is “dynamism”. “The Christian - explained the Secretary - is dynamic. He is called not to remain enclosed in his/her own faith, but rather to go towards others to offer and share the precious pearl found: faith” . Even the title of the Rio WYD is very meaningful “Go and make disciples of all nations”.

It is an important and valuable fact that WYD will happen during the Year of the Faith and in line with the continental mission launched to the local churches by the Fifth General Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Episcopacy in Aparecida. It gives more value to the missionary dimension of the event.

“Dialogue done in a simple and respectful way, closeness and witness”. These are some of the recommendations of the Holy Father for the young people called to be the first evangelizers of their peers. Msgr Clemens added that it is very important to know who we are as Christians because acting is a consequence of being, together with the knowledge of the meaning of the sacraments of Christian initiation, base for the mission. “All of this will help to face the challenges of our time being deeply rooted in the faith”. Faith, in fact, is not only knowledge, but an encounter with a living Person, Jesus Christ.

After the remarks/lecture of the Secretary of the PCPL the meeting continued focussing on practical and organizational communications

(the sites of the event, liturgies of the WYD, catechesis, the cultural program, volunteers) including a session of questions and answers.

Fr Renato Martins, Col (Local Organizing Committee), speaking of the sites of WYD, confirmed that “the place chosen to welcome Benedict XVI on the 25th of July 2013 is the famous beach of Copacabana. It is the place where the Rio great events take place. People are accustomed to host two millions people, and will adjust well to the situation ”. In Copacabana there are enough support structures to guarantee meals, lodging and especially security. The beach will host the youth welcoming ceremony on July 23rd, and the Way of the Cross on July 26th. The site of the Vigil of Saturday and the Final Mass are still under embargo. Fr Martins added that “all sites of the WYD are easily reachable either by foot or by shuttle buses”. The Vocational Festival will take place in front of the red beach beside Pão de Açúcar, all stands will be arranged in a way that – seen from above – will reproduce the WYD logo. Two hundred confessionals and a tent for Adoration of the Blesssed Sacrament will be available. The organizing committee hopes that the Festival will be an occasion to revive the faith of the youth giving them also a unique opportunity for experiencing the universality of the Church.

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On 1 September 2016 the

Pontifical Council for the Laity
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Its responsibilities and duties
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