The Pontifical Council for the Laity held an international conference for WYD delegates, “Madrid 2011 – Rio 2013”, in Rocca di Papa from 29 to 31 March. There were over 250 delegates from 99 bishops’ conferences and 45 international movements, associations and communities. This is significant in that it demonstrates the commitment of the worldwide Church to WYD. Those in charge of youth ministry in countries all over the world have gradually come to appreciate the role of WYD in contributing structure and dynamics to pastoral work with young people.
The three-day meeting began with a report on the pastoral fruits of the Madrid 2011 WYD. It was presented by the archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, who is also president of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, and Bishop Cesar Augusto Franco Martínez, coordinator of the Local Organising Committee of Madrid, together with several members of the Committee. We had an assessment of the impact of WYD on the diocese of Madrid, on Spain as a whole, and on several countries around the world. Contributions to this were given by delegates from the Philippines, Madagascar, Poland, Venezuela, Australia and by several other countries. It is always amazing to hear from these people who work in the field about how the Lord reaches out to youth during WYD. It is a true “cascade of light and hope”, as the Holy Father has called it.
On the second day we directed our gaze forward towards Rio 2013. The Rio local committee, led by Archbishop Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro, told us of the great significance of WYD for the archdiocese of Rio and for the Church in Brazil and Latin America.
After hearing delegates from all over the world speak, we can say that the Rio WYD has begun, and not only in Brazil. We are not speaking only of the five days that will be spent in Rio, but also of the preparation. There is a pilgrimage that leads from one WYD to another and that moves so many young people, dioceses, parishes, communities and ecclesial movements.
WYD was really a prophetic intuition on the part of Blessed John Paul II that brought about a kind of revolution to the field of youth ministry. Pope Benedict, in his talk to the Roman Curia on 22 December, explained that WYD is opening up new ways of being Christian. On the third day, we took the key words contained in this analysis by the Holy Father as a starting point for our reflection on the faith education that the Church is extending to young people today. It is a priority in the Church’s mission to prepare new generations of Christians who are capable of living the Gospel to the full and of transmitting it joyfully to others.
On Palm Sunday, the delegates and committees all attended Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter’s Square with the Holy Father, and they celebrated together World Youth Day 2012.
Taken from Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko’s presentation
at the press conference on WYD Rio 2013
Holy See Press Office
Vatican City, Monday 2 April 2012