WYD Rio: Day 1

Today our pilgrims leave for Rio!

While they are in transit, why don’t we take a look at some of the background of World Youth Day….

WYD: A Dream from the Heart of God*
World Youth Day (WYD) is more than just a meeting that thousands or even millions of young people flock to. WYD is a testimony of a living Church that is continually being renewed. Youth are the protagonists of this meeting of faith, hope, and unity. The main goal of WYD is to let youth know about Christ’s message. It is also true that through them (the young people), the young ‘face’ of Jesus is shown to the world.

The World Youth Day, held annually in the dioceses of the world, provides every 2 or 3 years an international meeting of young people with the Pope, which lasts about a week. The latest edition of the International Youth Day was held in August 2011 in Madrid, Spain, and brought together more than 190 countries.

The XXVIII World Youth Day will be held from 23 to 28 July 2013 in the city of Rio de Janeiro, and has its motto, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” (Mt 28:19).

The WYDs have their origin in large meetings with the youth celebrated by Pope John Paul II in Rome. The international youth meeting on the occasion of the Holy Year of Redemption came in 1984, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. It was there that the Pope gave the WYD Cross, which became one of the main symbols of WYD.

The following year, 1985, was declared International Youth Year by the United Nations. In March, there was another international meeting of the youths in the Vatican and the same year the Pope announced the institution of World Youth Day.

The first was diocesan WYD in Rome in 1986. This was followed by meetings worldwide:
Buenos Aires, Argentina; 1987; 1 million attended
Santiago de Compostela, Spain; 1989; 600,000 attended
Czestochowa, Poland; 1991; 1.5 million attended
Denver, USA; 1993; 500,000 attended
Manila, Philippines; 1995; 4 million attended
Paris, France; 1997; 1 million attended
Rome, Italy; 2000; 2 million attended
Toronto, Canada; 2002; 800,000 attended
Cologne, Germany; 2005; 1 million attended
Sydney, Australia; 2008; 500,000 attended
Madrid, Spain; 2011; 2 million attended

In addition to being in another country, with its tourist charms, participation in the day requires a prepared body for the pilgrimage and an open heart to the wonders that God has in store for each one. There are catecheses, testimonies, sharing, examples of love of your neighbor and the Church, music festivals, and cultural activities. Finally, it is a meeting of hearts that are driven by the same belief and hope that the diversity in fraternity is possible.

Theme: “Go and Make Disciples of All Nations”
The theme of WYD Rio 2013 summons young people of Brazil and of the world to take a call to mission, living as witnesses of the Risen Christ.

It motivates each participant to let the light of the Risen Christ dissipate the darkness of fear and doubts that paralyze. It encourages young people to be missionaries, even in situations of conflict, in countries where Christians are persecuted, amid a secularized world that does not want to live Christian values.

So, this is the mandate of the Church to the Catholic youth: Go, young missionaries who trust in the Church’s Magisterium and support their faith in liturgy and life in community! Go and evangelize with your personal gifts! Go and strengthen your faith with answers and explanations about the issues that distress the world today! Go and witness the joy of the encounter with the Risen Christ at WYD Rio 2013!

*From the Rio 2013 App